May 27, 2013

Question Without Notice – Vehicle Emissions Standards

Mr TRUSS (Wide Bay—Leader of The Nationals) (14:24):  My question is to the Minister for Transport. What advice did the Minister for Transport seek about the impact of the government’s changes to vehicle emissions standards on the long-term viability of Ford’s Australian manufacturing operations, given that Ford identified this as one of the reasons for ceasing manufacturing in 2016? When did he receive the advice and what action did he take as a result of the advice he received?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (14:25):   I thank the honourable member for his question; I have waited for three years to get one. When I finally get one it is one that seeks to take advantage of the loss of employment for working Australians in Geelong and in Broadmeadows. If he had had a look at Ford’s statement and what they actually had to say, he would see that what Ford was speaking about was the emissions targets internationally and the European system in terms of emissions standards that were there.

What I have done as the minister, as I have done across the board, is consult with Ford, Holden and Toyota at face-to-face meetings and work through it with them in an entirely appropriate way. If you speak to Ford they will confirm that is the case. We have worked in a cooperative way, in a way which secured change in the industry, change that is needed in a carbon constrained world, but in a way that was consistent with maintaining jobs. That is what we have done for each of the three companies.

Hence, you have seen major support for the transition, in terms of some export vehicles in Toyota; such as the changes that we have made with regard to, for example, the Ford Territory. If you actually had a discussion with Ford, which clearly the shadow minister has not, they would confirm that not only did we receive the appropriate advice from my department and appropriate advice from the bureau that looks at these things in terms of transport and regional economics, but we also sat down with the managers and operators at Ford, Holden and Toyota, and—something you would never do—we also sat down with the workers and their representatives. That is something you would never do, because any job loss is just an opportunity for you. What we have done is engage in appropriate consultation. We have provided the appropriate support; unlike you and your policy—

The SPEAKER:  Use of the word ‘you’ is inappropriate.

Mr ALBANESE:  That would cut $500 million out of assistance and would lead to job losses not just directly but in all those component areas as well that create some 200,000 jobs throughout the country. That would be absolutely at risk—

Opposition member interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE:  The nong opposite says we did nothing. We consulted with industry, and Ford does not say, as you would suggest, that that is a reason for their closure.