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by Daniel DeGasperi

There are renewed calls for clarity on automotive industry policy from both sides of government, with FCAI chief Tony Weber seeking answers from both sides of politics ahead of this year’s federal election.

“In this federal election year, both the importers and the local manufacturers are looking to the political parties to provide the policy certainty needed to maintain a competitive and innovative automotive industry in Australia,” said Weber at the announcement of total 2012 sales.

“We hope that there’s a commitment there that provides certainty for a long period of time for the automotive industry. What [we] need is clarity and certainty about the policy environment.”

Weber mostly echoed the call made in December by Holden managing director Mike Deveraux for both sides of politics to clearly state their position on local automotive policy. However, where Deveraux called for ‘bipartisanship’ on the issue, with a consensus to continue supporting the local automotive industry, Weber believes this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case, and that each party needs time to craft their policy.

“I think it’s only fair that in this environment, both the government and opposition are given the opportunity to actually think about what their policy position will be with respect to the automotive industry,” said Weber.

However the chamber boss stressed that both sides of government will need to “state [their position] before the 2013 election.”

Currently, both sides of politics have committed to honouring major co-investment deals – Holden will use its $275 million to develop two “fuel efficient” cars in Australia until 2022; Ford has committed to local production until at least 2016 on the back of a $103 million government partnership; and Toyota used $330 million to open its new hybrid engine plant in Melbourne. However beyond the next decade, the future of local manufacturing is undecided.

“We need that to move [policy decisions] forward because long term investment decisions need to be made about what models are actually introduced into this market,” claims Weber.

“I’m not sure that Australians are uncertain about [the future of] Australian built cars, but certainly you want that clarity … certainty is king.

“If there comes a degree of uncertainty, that can be self-fulfilling.”

Weber also went a step further, claiming that manufacturing isn’t the only clear policy stance missing from each side of government.

“[Government position needs to be clear] across a raft of issues, whether it be petrol standards, CO2, co-investment decisions … a whole raft of things.”

  • Gtrxu1

    What’s going on ?Nobody seems to know.The next round of free trade agreements has USA corperations asking for the right to make the north west of WA a trade free zone.Meaning Gina Rhinehart can pay Africans $2 a day.
    Selling out what’s left of the AU car industry would be no surprise.Globalisation and free trade makes big supermarket chains and big banks rich.And most multinationals.

  • Gueshtyu

    I blame the joos

  • DanielD

    He is right on this one. There is a complete absence of any clear policy for manufacturing of any kind in Australia. The only thing we are obsessed with is digging holes and selling our non renewable resources for cents in the dollar of their true worth to us.

    Oh and bad luck if future generations want any mineral resources. Their inheritance from our generation is a bunch of holes in the ground.

  • Jacob

    Government should not determine how much Ethanol should be in my PETROL tank!

    Its called a petrol tank for a reason.

  • Michael

    Both parties need to announce their policies on car manufacturing for at least the next 5 years. I’d suggest ending the free trade agreement with Thailand, and increasing import tariffs to offset the reduced cost of imports caused by the rising Australian dollar. Hopefully these actions would encourage Ford to build the Australian developed Ranger locally, or for Toyota and Holden to do the same with their imported utes. Their growing popularity suggests it would be a good idea, but Thai built cars are too cheap to compete with