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ALP will maintain support of car industry, Shorten says
03/08/2012 - Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says the car industry is under pressure — but there will still be a manufacturing sector in Australia in the future.
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It was reported this week companies and advisers in the car industry had begun openly talking about Ford quitting Australian production in 2016.
Shorten says commercial decisions are ultimately made elsewhere, but the Labor government has a policy of supporting the automotive industry.
"I think what is the case is, we will maintain a manufacturing sector in Australia and I certainly reject the assumption that Australians can't make things," he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
"I do recognise the automotive industry is under pressure.
"I do know that the government has supported keeping Ford here."
Ford announced last month it would axe 440 jobs at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants by November as it reduces daily production from 209 to 148 vehicles, due to a slump in sales of large cars.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday reported that Ford's local demise was seen as inevitable and suppliers were starting to factor it into business plans.
Browse the IndustrySearch directory: Automotive, Trucking & Transport
Lou Furbadamo | 3/08/2012 09:30 1
No one disputes Australia can manufacture many things well, including Automobiles. With Ford, “too much Automobile” & not quite what fuel conscience customers want now days! Supposedly, this marketing faux par & announced 440 job cuts, need not have happened with proper governance & research? In some areas we’ve been equal to the best. But, reduced volumes & uncompetitive exchange rates would be making it difficult even for the most efficient to justify keeping manufacture here without Gov. assistance? In a parting speech seven years ago, a retiring local components CEO assured workers that they were efficient, “low cost”, innovative, world best practice, highly regarded productive work force & factory, in the multi national organisation. And therefore their jobs were secure for the foreseeable- So long as the exchange rate stayed below 75 cents US! This, at a time when the exchange had been trending 65 cents and predicted toward 60cents longer term! So basically their future was conditional on one criteria, that is totally out of their control, but in the hands of our now arguably blithering politicians & the RBA? Good Luck! Obviously, the CEO didn’t have Swannee’s hard Rosy Crystal Ball? One can now extrapolate as to where they sit in their Multinational India China & Mexico biased Global Manufacturing Plan? Given, that almost all they look for, apart from Gov. handouts, is manufactured Cost Price Competetiveness to out-compete rivals for new business & profit! A criteria our Government & Revue Committees don’t seem to understand? Or won’t commit too, cause it entails difficult financial discipline and cost & waste conscious efficient Government. And Oh No! our snorters can’t have that and still continue over wallowing! Clearly the high productivity emphasis and “Fair Work Act” are complementary & desirable. But not the wherewith all or same as the all important “price competitive”! Hence recent ministerial warnings “not to expect too much”? Why should we, when it merely p*ss farts around the edges and doesn’t even premise attempt to start tackling the core industrial costly handicaps and burdensome problems? Many relatively highly productive, yet unprofitable Aussie. companies have folded here and done what Dr. Relocate Overseas says, where they’re now profitable & viable, in the more realistic, cheaper operating environments, despite being sometimes “half or a third as productive”. So the much touted higher productivity on it’s own is trivial Gov. & advisor “Red Herring” to politically con the public and partially anesthetise the long screwed & suffering terminal workers. To quote a former team leader who helped re- establish Pope’s liquidated Motor Equipment in Tianjin, “they transferred everything, even jigs & conveyors. They copied the layouts, so when you walk into that factory, you think you’re still in Woodville! So much for vague productivity improvements, when you’ve got people overseas gratefully working for $5 per day that can “somehow” still eat, dress & live reasonably well! Obviously, these uneven Ball parks can be awfully rocky, pitted, prickly and grossly uneven, Clearly, the overwhelming issues that Gov. refuses to provide: An underlying efficient, competitive & viable manufacturing environment, to permit industry to fairly compete, succeed & regain significant market share and benefit all Australians! So, rather than over squeeze and trivially flog the poor workers. The Industry & Fat Gov in particular should start self flagellation to get at the real juicy fat & regain industry competitiveness. Alternatively, It’s naïve, premature & Vague nonsense to promise to maintain “a manufacturing sector in Australia” without performance guidelines, target numbers, extent of local manufacturing retention and cost?
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