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Government should accept Senate improvements to car support Bill.

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Tue, 15th September 2009


Senator the Hon Eric Abetz

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

The Government should swallow its pride and accept the Coalition’s improvements to its car industry support bill

which were supported by the Senate last night, Shadow Industry Minister Senator Eric Abetz said today.

“The Opposition believes that if the taxpayer is going to provide more than $3 billion in financial support to the car

industry, than there should be full transparency and accountability”, Senator Abetz said.

“The Coalition amendment, which was supported last night by the Greens and Senator Xenophon, requires

exactly the same disclosure of grants as is required in the case of every other Government industry grant.

“It seems that Senator Carr is arguing that car industry support should remain secret while every other form of

industry support shouldn’t.

“That is, except in the case of grants he wants to crow about, like the $35 million grant to Toyota which he and

the Prime Minister flew to Japan to announce.

“Further, the Government’s claims that this disclosure would somehow damage investment are not supported by

any evidence - especially given that such disclosure already happens in every other industry sector.

“The Government should not play politics with Australia’s car industry and the 57,000 jobs its supports, and

accept the Senate’s sensible changes”, Senator Abetz concluded.

The Coalition amendment which was supported by the Senate:

(1) Clause 27A, page 18 (lines 9 to 18), omit the clause, substitute:

27A Automotive Transformation Scheme report

(1) As soon as practicable after 30 June each year, commencing 30 June 2012, the Secretary must prepare and

give to the Minister a report, detailing:

(a) the amount of capped and uncapped assistance paid to each ATS participant under the Automotive

Transformation Scheme during the 12-month period ending on 31 March in that year; and

(b) the progress of the Australian automotive industry towards achieving economic sustainability, environmental

outcomes and workforce skills development.

(2) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament by 31 July that