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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1927

Automotive Industry

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:17): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer to the government's intention to cut half a billion dollars of assistance from the Australian car industry and to the Prime Minister's statement on radio last Friday that there is no more money for Australia's auto industry. Minister, if the government has made up its mind, what is the point of the Productivity Commission inquiry?

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:18): The incoming Australian government, as the Treasurer has just told the parliament, has put aside substantial amounts of financial support for the Australian car industry. There is still significant financial support available before 2015, when the second $1 billion that the Treasurer referred to kicks into action. We want a strong car industry in Australia. Holden has been very much a part of the Australian way of life for as long as all of us can remember, but Holden also needs to be up-front with its workers and tell them what its intentions are for the Australian car industry.

The review that we are undertaking will help to plot a future for the industry. It will endeavour to look at ways in which that industry can prosper in the future. But, certainly, it would help the car industry enormously if the carbon tax were to be abolished. By abolishing the carbon tax, you save about $400 on the construction costs of each vehicle, and that would really be something worthwhile.

Ms Plibersek: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: that fact has been controverted by the car industry many times—

The SPEAKER: That is argument; that is not a point of order. I would remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition not to engage in debate when you are purporting to raise a point of order.

Mr TRUSS: If the Labor Party were serious about the objective of having a strong car industry in Australia, they would not have imposed a $1.8 billion fringe benefits tax on the industry. They would not be imposing a carbon tax. They would be getting on with the business of giving the industry the environment in which they can grow and prosper, and that is what this government will do.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: I refer the Acting Prime Minister to standing order 104(a).

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business does not have a point of order. I call the Acting Prime Minister.

Mr TRUSS: I have finished the answer, Madam Speaker.