Jul 2013

Letter to the Editor - Parliament preoccupied by politics as manufacturing crisis deepens

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Dear Editor,

As Australia’s once-proud manufacturing industry threatens to become little more than a footnote in our nation's history, it is to the disgrace of the 43rd Parliament that our repeated attempts to halt the haemorrhaging of Aussie jobs and industries were rebuffed.

Following the loss over several weeks of thousands of jobs at Holden, Ford and SPC Ardmona, it is bewildering that our motion for all government vehicles to be Aussie-made using Aussie steel was rejected for debate by the conclusion of Parliamentary sittings.

So we made a last-ditch plea in Question Time for the Government to protect our food producers with urgent emergency tariffs on the flood of cheap imports; and to mandate all motor vehicles purchased under a government contract be Australian.

We also asked the Government to pressure down the artificially-inflated Australian dollar, which makes it up to 60 per cent cheaper to import foreign produce at the expense of Australian jobs and industry.

Australia’s motor vehicle industry workforce has shrunk one-third in the past decade (from 78,700 in May 2003 down to 50,100 by February 2013); whilst the share of Aussie-made vehicle sales compared to imported vehicle sales domestically has in a quarter-century shrunk from 73 per cent to 12 per cent (some 317,000 units were Aussie-made from a total of 435,000 units sold domestically in 1987, compared to only 140,000 Aussie units from 972,000 units sold last year).

Meanwhile, we see increasing offshoring of Aussie jobs to countries where they work for $2 a day.

As we have continuously warned – unless the dollar comes down significantly, this alarming trend will quicken until we no longer have steel, car manufacturing or food processing industries.

Soon we’ll live in a country that can’t produce a tyre, an electric motor, a motor car, etc.

Add all of this up and we don’t live in a technologically advanced country any more – it’s technologically backward.
There is a solution.

And we aren’t ashamed to talk tariffs or subsidies given we have continually asked for the dollar to be brought down. Nor do we apologise for saying that there’s no magic pudding – that Australians have got to pay a bit more so we have jobs and decent pay and conditions in this country.

Because all those Aussies losing their jobs can thank their respective ALP-LNP governments, whose free market policies have smashed our industries to pieces. ‘Free market’ simply means big foreign corporations are free to mark prices up to whatever they feel like in a country run by foreign monopolies who import all their goods on the cheap, whilst our own industries collapse.

A strong and sustainable manufacturing industry is vital to Australia’s economic and technological advancement. Do we want our nation to continue down this track of becoming a technologically backward country?

Hon Bob Katter MP,
KAP Federal Leader and Member for Kennedy

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au