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Thais try to lure Aust car firms overseas on cheap labour
09/08/2012 - Victoria should not be concerned about a foreign trade mission attempting to steal Australian car manufacturing jobs, the state's trade minister says.
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A delegation from Thailand is currently at a Melbourne conference and trying to persuade major car companies to build factories overseas on the promise of rock-bottom Thai worker wages.
But Victorian Manufacturing and Trade Minister Richard Dalla-Riva says Australian companies also conduct overseas trade missions and are promoting the nation's higher-end, diversifying manufacturing sector.
"It's not just about cheap labour and high-volume output, it's also about logistics, it's also about the innovation," he told reporters on Wednesday.
He said the local industry would have to work smarter to maintain competitiveness on a global scale.
"We are very aggressive in sending our products, and our markets and our companies overseas, as we've done in India, as we've done recently with Japan, South Korea, and we're about to go to China ... If we're not not competing on a global stage, we're out of the marketplace."
He made the comments as applications opened for a joint federal, Victorian and South Australian $35 million grant program.
The Automotive New Markets Initiative grants will be available to car companies seeking to diversify business and gain new customers through new products.
The grants are part of the federal government's $5.4 billion New Car Plan designed to save the struggling car industry.
Browse the IndustrySearch directory: Automotive, Trucking & Transport
Brett Hillier | 9/08/2012 11:29 1
Australia's car industry is a business and if it cant survive we should move it overseas.(keep it Australian owned)Taxpayers should not have to keep bailing them out. Put 5.4 billion toward successful businesses to employ those from the car industry.Promote successful businesses dont prop up unsuccessful businesses.
Lou Furbadamo | 10/08/2012 11:56 2
Hello Brett, for one who expounds Business, you take a very simplistic, narrow view. You’ve obviously never been part of a contract with fine print, extraneous clauses, catches & penalties. Cause you’d realise that our Federal Government is also a business, currently accumulating losses because of such attached social obligations. And if it blindly abdicates & pulls the plug on the rest of what’s left of the manufacturing industry, as you suggest. Anywhere upwards of 50 thousand to 250 thousand workers will hit the social security deck fast and be looking for new jobs & they’re not all going to find work in the mining Industry or in the niche you apparently work in. Perhaps you might enlighten us on where your $5.4 Billion can eagerly generate the couple a hundred thousand jobs or more that are still hanging? Otherwise, who’s going to pay for the massive unemployment benefits & retraining? You & me for sure! So don’t think we can Pontius Pilate wash our hands of the mess! Unless we ship a couple a hundred thousand workers over to say Thailand with the equipment & convince them that somehow it’s all “in their best interest” to stay there & work for $1.14/hr. Yeh Sure! They’ll all be understanding of your business philosophy & surely go for that! Seriously, The only real answer, longer term is to cut government waste, give local industry the old near level playing field and make them efficient & competitive again through reduced operating costs & elimination of crippling overheads. Because motor vehicles are too high tech & too high a value added item for our economy and balance of trade to successfully bear without longer term. Cheers Furbo!
Brett Hillier | 10/08/2012 12:47 3
Lou, With words like expounds,extraneous and abdicates you should or could be a politician. Your only real answer, cut government waste (like that will happen), give local industry the old near level playing field, reduced operating costs & elimination of crippling overheads. Whats your answer to that, reduced staff levels (unemployment)or reduced wages ($1.14/hr Yeh Sure) You have answered everything in your own statement - The government is also a business and should not attract losses unless there is a payoff that is affordable (including humane and social obligations). Also a lot of the car industry is profitable so i disagree that a lot of people would hit the social security deck fast. As for training, mining is doing that now which in itself creates jobs and all paid for by successful businesses, not the taxpayer.My niche was a self employed mechanic but when the drought hit for 7 yrs i didnt look for the taxpayer to bail me out, I found another niche that was profitable. Cheers Brett.
Lou Furbadamo | 10/08/2012 14:39 4
Hello again Brett & thanks for you reply. Firstly let me say I’m still to honest & sincere to be a politician. But, I’ve had occasion to deal with quite a number of Bureaucrats in my 30 years as a senior Mechanical, Project & Industrial Engineer In the white Goods & Automotive Industry. So I know what to expect and why perhaps I’m biased toward manufacturing’s ”self importance”. But unlike the nonsense being spread by politicians, manufacturing & design technology isn’t easy or cheap to get back, once you’ve lost it! Further, I don’t believe you fully appreciate how many people still directly or indirectly rely on this industry and the disastrous gross impact it would have on the economy if it were to disappear. What I do know in detail is what inputs or factors go into the equation, and I’ll tell you incompetent wasteful government are primarily to blame apart from bad management and marketing decision. And that that gov. excess is untenable long term, regardless of the mining boom. And will need to be curbed after were rid of the hopeless current spendthrifts. Otherwise when the mining slows, well end up like Greece, Bankrupt and forced to take cuts at the hands of global liquidators. The fact remains that we’ve always successfully operated with higher western wages in Australia, because we mostly worked smarter & automated, thanks to world best practices, automatic equipment and capital investment. Which I was commissioning for nearly twenty years for the companies I worked for, some of which is now productively working in China & Thailand, making, if anything crappier electric motors for foreigners, that we’re now importing! So we always successfully competed with much higher wages than the third word $1.12 /hr or less, you incorrectly inferred. But, it’s the overheads and indirects and the absurdly high dollar, not just labour rates that have got way out of control, that’s now stuffing these companies. Cause you know, there’s only so much blood you can squeeze out of a stone? I remember working for $1/hr as a barman at uni. But in thirty years of manufacturing I don’t remember the operators getting much less than $3/hr. Further, also remember, not everyone in this country has the fortune or possibility of being self employed or self reliant, so many of these thousands will be competing for the few jobs in the same area. The mining industry may well be making most of the profits to support this country’s excesses, but it still only employs or needs, a relatively piddley fraction of the population, in mostly far away desolate places with minimal infrastructure & services. Which would take $trillions to beef up for any mass work migration. So mining industry isn’t going to come any where near coping with even twenty thousand new job seekers, never mind one or two hundred thousand. And neither will the mechanics trade nor any other niche you may be working in, apart from Government. Which can only spend other people’s money & wealth! Hopefully, you can thank your lucky stars that you employment is not adversely affected by the high uncompetitive exchange rate and cheap labour imports. Otherwise you’d be as concerned as the poor buggers on the production lines, cause the best many of them can now look forward to, is a fat redundancy payout, and maybe a job on Coles Or Woollies shelf fill or check outs or wherever you’re now working? Cheers Furbo!
GREG BELZ | 10/08/2012 20:09 5
Lou well written and constructive.Obiously some people don't understand the talent and knowledge in this imdustry.
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