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Dealers should be concerned: Carr

Bad idea: Shadow industry minister Kim Carr told the AAAA Expo that the government's plan to regulate the new-car market in Australia will create more job losses in the automotive sector.

Senator Carr criticises government's plans to introduce parallel imports

16 Apr 2015

SENATOR Kim Carr has dismissed suggestions from the Abbott government that deregulating the importation of new cars would reduce purchase prices for buyers of luxury cars, and predicted further job losses in the automotive sector as a result of the changes to the Act.

Opening the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) Expo in Melbourne this morning, the former industry minister also said there would still be many thousands of automotive jobs in the country after the three car-makers depart by the end of 2017.

"This is a government in Canberra that seems to get out of bed in the morning and think about how they can destroy more jobs in automotive," Senator Carr said.

He cited the announcement this morning by assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development Jamie Briggs who said that he planned to reform the Australian Motor Vehicle Standards Act "to ensure Australians could buy the safest and best quality cars at the best possible price".

"He is suggesting people can personally import their vehicles," Senator Carr said.

"The car dealership industry in this country has grave cause for concern about that matter. There will be job losses as a result of this decision.""The real issue here is: why regulate if you're now part of a global regime?" Mr Briggs said in an interview with ABC.

"We allow people to purchase all sorts of goods from overseas on the internet.

"There seems no reason why we shouldn't allow people to buy new cars from overseas markets if there's an opportunity to do so."If the plan is adopted, Mr Briggs said Australians would buy cars directly from dealers overseas, provided that car complied with global design and safety standards.

"That would obviously be a right-hand-drive vehicle – we're a right-hand-drive country – and it would ensure that you are meeting the same standards you would if you bought the car in Australia," he said.

Senator Carr dismissed the plan.

"Trying to equate the purchase of a motor car with a purchase of a pair of jeans is simply not satisfactory.

"We have safety standards in this country for a reason."Senator Carr said evidence given to the Senate Inquiry into the future of the automotive industry by government departments was disturbing.

"It is quite clear there is no plan within this government for the future of the auto industry.

"There is no plan to deal with the crisis that is emerging following the decisions by the major manufacturers to cease making cars.

"What we know is the department of employment doesn’t know what the department of industry is doing. The department of industry doesn’t know what treasury is doing. There is clearly chaos in this government.

"What is needed is a comprehensive strategy to deal with this crisis within the automotive industry in Australia, a comprehensive strategy to ensure skills and jobs are maintained in this country and the great capabilities of the Australian automotive industry are preserved."

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