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Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Page: 29

Senator ABETZ (6:14 PM) —So the only information that is readily to hand is that you have stitched up a deal between the Greens and Labor, and between Family First and Labor. There has been no consultation with the car industry and no consultation with the unions. We do not know whether you are predicting car sales to increase or to decrease over the forward period of four years. This, I must say, is very, very sloppy. Whilst it would be nice to personally blame Senator Conroy for it, I know he is only representing the Treasurer, and the person that should bear the burden of this dearth of information is in fact the Treasurer, Mr Swan.

The latest figures indicate that demand for motor vehicles in the luxury car bracket over the $57,180 threshold has fallen by about 19 per cent. That is, without exaggerating, if you round up the 19 per cent to 20 per cent, a reduction of one-fifth. That is substantial in anybody’s language. I wonder whether the Treasury modelling—that, of course, has to be kept secret—took into account the huge impact that this ill-considered measure would have on car sales and on revenue streams. In particular, I wonder whether the government did any modelling on its impact on the Australian car-manufacturing sector.