Nov 10, 2008

Rudd Pumps $6.2 Billion Of Australian Taxpayer Funds Into Auto Industry

We congratulate the Australian taxpayers for their generosity. The auto industry would not have been our preferred charity, now would we have allocated such a large sum, but what the hell. Rudd wants to be loved. If France can subsidise its industries why can't Australia??

What is a bit of a shame is that so little of this package is actually being spent to "green" the industry. Reading the spin you would have thought that every cent was going into the greening.

This also removes one of the comparative advantages that Australia had remaining after the global financial crisis began. Pretty much all OECD Governments had been forced to spend billions bailing out banks. Australia and New Zealand put up some guarantees, but no money - indeed the guarantee schemes might actually generate revenue. Now Australia has gone and blown $6.2 billion to keep the auto industry going.

This from The Australian

THE federal government's $6.2 billion automotive industry package will support jobs at a time of a global financial crisis and into the future, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
The nation needed a green-car industry that would create high-paid, high-skilled green jobs for the future, he said launching the government's new car industry plan in Melbourne today. The plan sets aside $500 million - double the amount recommended by the Bracks review - for a green car innovation fund. It also confirms a reduction in the automotive tariff to 5 per cent will go ahead as planned in 2010. “In the time of global financial crisis the government today has taken further decisive action to support Australian industry, to support Australian jobs, because we believe this industry has a future,” Mr Rudd said. “We take decisive action to build an international, competitive green economy for the future. “Australia needs a green car industry that manufacturers the fuel efficient, low-emissions vehicles of the future and creates the well paid, high skilled green jobs of the future.” The choice was not between having a growing economy in the short-term and a green economy in the medium to long-term. “We can work effectively to develop both, and that's what a large part of today's package is all about. The automotive industry was part of Australia's future, Mr Rudd said. Building a low-emissions economy was the next step in the government's response to the global financial crisis. “By implementing a green investment strategy today we can transform our industry and create green jobs for tomorrow,” he said. “It's a future in which we should have absolute confidence - fuel-efficient technologies, low-emissions technologies, better designed and safer vehicles.” Australia could be world leader in green car technology, Mr Rudd said. The automotive industry faced a whole new set of market, economic and environmental changes and challenges. “The domestic market for cars has become more fragmented. Australian car makers do battle in a very crowded field, with 60 other car brands, Mr Rudd said. “Consumer preferences have shifted away from sedans, to both smaller vehicles on the one hand and four-wheel drives on the other.” Higher petrol prices had driven consumer demands for more fuel-efficient vehicles, he said. Mr Rudd said the automotive industry had a key role to play in climate change and faced a complicated set of industry challenges. “Some might say it's not worth trying to have a car industry, that is not my view, it is not the view of the Australian government and it never will be the view of any government which I lead,” he said. “I don't believe that car making is yesterday's business or something better left to the Germans and the Japanese. “But I also don't believe that industry policy is about 'saving' the automotive industry, it's about helping to transform the industry to meet the challenges of the future. “It's not about passive assistance, it's about active support for innovation and change.”