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More of the same from Coalition

No shocks: Coalition industry spokesperson Sophie Mirabella has committed to the same CO2 emissions targets as Labor.

Shadow industry ministry reveals its me-too pre-election industry policy

General News logo18 Aug 2010

THE Coalition’s industry policy has been announced just three days before the federal election this Saturday (August 21) and it contains no surprises for Australia’s automotive sector.

Contrary to claims by the federal Labor Party that, if elected, a Coalition government would “kill or cripple” the government’s plans for innovation in the car industry, policies announced today by the shadow minister for innovation, industry, science and research, Sophie Mirabella, basically bring the Coalition into line with Labor’s direction.

A statement issued today by Ms Mirabella’s office said the Coalition would proceed with its plan to slash $278 million from the current federal government’s $1.3 billion Green Car Innovation Fund following a lack of interest by car-makers and vehicle components manufacturers.

As we’ve reported, the federal government criticised the Coalition’s plan to cut GCIF funding, before at least partly following suit by announcing its own $200 million cut earlier this month.

“The Coalition does not believe that taxpayers are receiving value from the Green Car Innovation Fund,” said the shadow minister in a statement issued today. “The Coalition will therefore reduce allocations to the fund by $278 million over the next four years.”

 center imageThe Coalition labelled as a stunt the Gillard government’s proposed vehicle scrappage scheme, labelled the Cleaner Car Rebate, which it has previously described as a further waste of taxpayers’ money.

Incumbent industry minister Kim Carr told GoAuto in March 2009 that scrappage schemes were expensive and would be less effective than the 50 per cent tax break for small business it announced a month earlier.

“Labor blasted the Coalition for making reductions to its Green Car Innovation Fund but then, as it scrambled to fund election stunts like Cash for Clunkers and its $2.1 billion rail project through marginal electorates in Sydney, did a U-turn and confessed it would make a similar cut.”

The Coalition confirmed it would continue with the federal government 2020 car plan, dubbed the Automotive Transformation Scheme, as its primary form of industry support, but said it would consider reinstating the previous system of providing financial assistance in the form of import tariff bonuses.

“The Coalition will maintain the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) as the principal form of government support for the automotive industry although we will consider a return to the system of paying ATS grants via duty credits,” said the Coalition.

Falling into line with the federal government’s plan for future vehicle emissions standards, announced in July, the Coalition said it will support average mandatory CO2 emission standards of 190g/km by 2015 and 155g/km by 2024.

“Labor spent much of its term in office proposing the imposition of new Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards on Australian vehicles by 2012 and 2016 respectively,” it said.

“These timelines were plainly unworkable and placed unreasonable pressures on Australian car manufacturers. It promised a different approach during the election campaign – when it suddenly committed to average mandatory emission standards of 190g/km by 2015 and 155g/km by 2024 for light vehicles.

“The Coalition supports these more realistic deadlines, and will work constructively with the automotive industry to ensure the outcomes are achievable.”

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