Senate debates

Monday, 9 December 2013

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Automotive Industry

3:07 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture) Share this | Hansard source

Horrific. I think you have got a pronunciation problem, Senator Farrell—it was horrific. Look at, for example, the cash for clunkers scheme. If you want to call that a terrific policy, Senator Farrell, be my guest. Cash for clunkers did not even see the light of day. The money for that program was withdrawn before the scheme even started—it was that bad. In fact, there was an edict issued from the ministry that the term 'cash for clunkers', which was being used in the ministry, should never be uttered again. Talk about a classic policy that was so bad that it was withdrawn before the government even started expending money on it.

Give us a break. The coalition's policy on the car industry has been in place and well-known by the car industry for a considerable period of time. It has been clearly enunciated over recent years. There has been no change to our policy. Yet we saw the green car fund. How many times did the government go back to the well of the green car fund to withdraw funds? Somewhere in the order of $1.2 billion, from recollection, withdrawn from the green car fund by the Labor Party when in government over the last three years—that is hardly consistent policy. How is industry supposed to make decisions based on that sort of policy?

So we had the green car fund that came and went and was consistently tapped from the well by the former government, the cash for clunkers scheme and then, in the lead up to the election, we had the fringe benefits tax changes that cost the car industry $1.8 billion. The opposition has the nerve to come here and lecture the government on consistency of policy and yet, after taking billions of dollars out of the car industry themselves, they are saying that they were going to save it.

Then, of course, we come to the carbon tax—$400 for every car to be manufactured in this country. The opposition claims that the government is not consistent in policy, and yet our policy has been on the table for a considerable period of time.


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