Holden to stop building cars in Australia in 2017

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
HOLDEN has announced it will stop making cars in Australia in 2017, throwing the future of the nation's auto industry into doubt.
General Motors broke the news to the federal, Victorian and South Australian governments early this afternoon.
The nearly 3000 Holden workers to be directly hit by the pullout were to be told this afternoon, as unions warned General Motors' decision would cost 50,000 jobs in the auto sector.

Rival carmaker Toyota also warned GM Holden's decision would put "unprecedented" pressure on its own ability to build cars in Australia.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss, who took a phone call from Holden boss Mike Devereux 10 minutes before question time, said he regretted the decision by a company that had become part of Australia's heritage.

"This is a difficult day for Australians, a difficult day particularly for the Holden employees,'' he said.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine also told state parliament: "This is a very, very sad day for Australia and Victoria.''
Holden said its decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflected a "perfect storm'' of negative influences faced by the car industry, including the Australian dollar, the high cost of production, the small domestic market and "arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world''.

"Building cars in this country is just not sustainable,'' Mr Devereux later told a press conference in Adelaide.

IN PICTURES: Holden through the ages

The announcement comes after a week of intense speculation on the carmaker's future and reports that the US-based General Motors had already made a decision to quit the country as part of a global restructure.

Mr Truss yesterday fired off a letter to Mr Devereux demanding an announcement on Holden's future.
Mr Devereux called him back today.

"He informed me of the company's decision made in Detroit that they would be closing their operation, or a significant part of their operation in Australia and New Zealand, by the end of 2017,'' Mr Truss told parliament.

"Holden has been an iconic national brand for Australians, a part of our heritage,'' he said.

He said the government had wanted Holden to remain manufacturing cars in Australia, and a manufacturing sector that was strong and ``able to stand on its own feet''.

In a statement, General Motors said it would end manufacturing and transition to a "national sales company'' in Australia and New Zealand.

HOLDEN'S STATEMENT

The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017.

"We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers,'' said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.

"The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.''

Mr Devereux told reporters the decision to end carmaking "is nothing but the current realities of our business".
``It doesn't make long term sense for us to continue assembling vehicles in Australia.''

He denied he had misled the Productivity Commission when giving evidence at the inquiry yesterday, saying he was informed by General Motors leadership during a teleconference later in the afternoon that a decision had been made to exit manufacturing.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said he was disappointed Holden had not waited until the Productivity Commission had completed its assessment of the Australian car industry.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said Holden's decision was a black day for his state.
He also accused the Abbott government of failing to support the company.

"Tony Abbott and his Coalition government have turned their backs on this industry and the people in it,'' he said.
The restructure will affect 2900 positions over the next four years, comprising 1600 from the Elizabeth vehicle manufacturing plant in South Australia and approximately 1300 from Holden's Victorian workforce.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said Holden's withdrawal will lead to 50,000 job losses and a $21 billion hole punched in the economy.
"It's now highly likely that Toyota will leave Australia. In fact it's almost certain,'' AMWU national vehicles division secretary Dave Smith told reporters outside Holden's head office in Melbourne.

"Fifty thousand workers will be losing their job because of this decision by General Motors today.''
The AMWU blamed the shutdown on the Coalition's lack of commitment to the car industry.

Toyota said it would have to determine whether it could continue operating in Australia.

"This will place unprecedented pressure on the local supplier network and our ability to build cars in Australia,'' Toyota Australia said in a statement.

"We will now work with our suppliers, key stakeholders and the government to determine our next steps and whether we can continue operating as the sole vehicle manufacturer in Australia.''

Mr Truss said the government stood ready to assist Holden's workers as they considered their future.

"We will do what we can with General Motors to achieve the very best possible outcomes for these people,'' he said.
"This is a difficult day for Australians, a difficult day particularly for Holden employees, and we will stand with them to work constructively to make sure that they can transition into good jobs in other parts of our industry.''

Holden said it would continue to have a significant presence in Australia beyond 2017, comprising a national sales company, a national parts distribution centre and a global design studio.

Mr Devereux said an important priority over the next four years would be to ensure the best possible transition for workers in South Australia and Victoria.

"This has been a difficult decision given Holden's long and proud history of building vehicles in Australia,'' said Mr Devereux. ``We are dedicated to working with our teams, unions and the local communities, along with the federal and state governments, to support our people.''

The sale and service of Holden vehicles would be unaffected by the announcement and would continue through the extensive network of Holden dealers across Australia and New Zealand. Warranty terms and spare parts availability will remain unchanged.

"GM remains committed to the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand. We recognise the need for change and understand the government's point of view,'' Holden said.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the federal government would do all it could to ensure Holden's decision did not lead to a significant economic downturn in South Australia or Victoria.

"We will do everything we can to assist during this transition,'' he told parliament.
Mr Hockey said Holden's decision was not a surprise, despite the ``enormous'' financial support given to the car industry over the years.

Mr Truss said while he regretted Holden's decision, the company had at least delivered certainty.
"And in particular, certainty to their employees,'' Mr Truss said.

He said the government would try help make the transition as smooth as possible.

"The reality is we must face the situation as it is now and get on with helping the Holden workers to make a transition and the economy of South Australia to move into new areas where it can prosper,'' he said.

In the Senate, Labor's upper house leader Penny Wong described the government Senate leader Eric Abetz as a disgrace for suggesting families affected by Holden redundancies would welcome a $500 Christmas present in the form of the passage of the carbon tax repeal bill.

Labor senator Kim Carr shouted across the chamber, "are you proud of yourself?''

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/holden-to-stop-building-cars-in-australia-in-2017/story-fn59niix-1226780453890

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  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
Perhaps now we can put all of those billions saved in supporting a dying industry to better use.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
This is a terrible blow for our nations long term prosperity, no doubt about it.

I used to believe that we shouldn't be subsidising the car industry but the more you look at it the more we have to lose from this decision.  Heavy industrial capacity, skills lost, people in meaningful jobs - all of those things gone.  I read a study recently that indicated the majority of workers (90% or so) from the closure of Mitsubishi went on to lower-paid work or in many cases (about a third) no work at all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of maintaining some kind of sheltered workshops into the future but I think it's fair to say that without a heavy manufacturing capacity we're all going to be stuck serving lattes and selling investment properties to each other ad infinitum.

The irony is that I got a big banner ad for 'secure your future - invest in residential property' on this page.  Who is going to be able to pay your rent as a negatively-geared landlord when there's no real jobs left?
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

This is a terrible blow for our nations long term prosperity, no doubt about it.

I used to believe that we shouldn't be subsidising the car industry but the more you look at it the more we have to lose from this decision.  Heavy industrial capacity, skills lost, people in meaningful jobs - all of those things gone.  I read a study recently that indicated the majority of workers (90% or so) from the closure of Mitsubishi went on to lower-paid work or in many cases (about a third) no work at all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of maintaining some kind of sheltered workshops into the future but I think it's fair to say that without a heavy manufacturing capacity we're all going to be stuck serving lattes and selling investment properties to each other ad infinitum.

The irony is that I got a big banner ad for 'secure your future - invest in residential property' on this page.  Who is going to be able to pay your rent as a negatively-geared landlord when there's no real jobs left?
don_dunstan
I wonder how power costs in SA compare with say Thailand.......
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

This is a terrible blow for our nations long term prosperity, no doubt about it.

I used to believe that we shouldn't be subsidising the car industry but the more you look at it the more we have to lose from this decision.  Heavy industrial capacity, skills lost, people in meaningful jobs - all of those things gone.  I read a study recently that indicated the majority of workers (90% or so) from the closure of Mitsubishi went on to lower-paid work or in many cases (about a third) no work at all.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of maintaining some kind of sheltered workshops into the future but I think it's fair to say that without a heavy manufacturing capacity we're all going to be stuck serving lattes and selling investment properties to each other ad infinitum.
don_dunstan
The Thatcherites/economic rationalists etc may ridicule views like this, but I think there is something to it.

I'm not in favour of having governments throw money at (foreign) private corporations who are struggling to remain competitive (especially when they probably already know they are leaving the country to exploit poor hungry sods elsewhere), but nor do I like seeing this country lose more manufacturing industry - industry that churns out "goods" as opposed to "services" and may involve important technology. The new service economy ain't what it was cracked up to be and in the long run the lack of local industrial capacity could prove very problematic. The wretched process of globalisation continues.


The irony is that I got a big banner ad for 'secure your future - invest in residential property' on this page. Who is going to be able to pay your rent as a negatively-geared landlord when there's no real jobs left?
don_dunstan
Haha well maybe the prices (for rent and sale) will have to be adjusted (lowered) to suit market conditions as the rear end falls out of the economy despite continuing low interest rates etc. Negative gearing should also be scrapped.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The Thatcherites/economic rationalists etc may ridicule views like this, but I think there is something to it.

I'm not in favour of having governments throw money at (foreign) private corporations who are struggling to remain competitive (especially when they probably already know they are leaving the country to exploit poor hungry sods elsewhere), but nor do I like seeing this country lose more manufacturing industry - industry that churns out "goods" as opposed to "services" and may involve important technology. The new service economy ain't what it was cracked up to be and in the long run the lack of local industrial capacity could prove very problematic. The wretched process of globalisation continues.
waxyzebu
Spot on, it's a pure market theory that means in the longer run we're going to be the losers as our capacity to make things completes the process of going off-shore; a managed transition from a relatively egalitarian country where marginalised people could aspire to middle class affluence into a much poorer society where many live on the dole or survive day to day on dodgy casual work.  As you rightly point out, our 'services' economy first envisaged by Hawke is a complete illusion; I know lots of really well-educated and skilled people who live a completely hand-to-mouth existence in our new economy because there simply isn't steady or well-paid employment around in those kind of jobs.  The problem with the collapse of heavy industry in Australia is that it couldn't be coming at a worse time - when the mining boom capital expenditure is winding back.  I think we just have to get used to the fact that people in the bottom half are all going to get a lot poorer.

I struggle to think of any sector outside of mining, finance and real-estate that's been doing really well in the last ten years... construction maybe but even that's been looking floppy recently.

Haha well maybe the prices (for rent and sale) will have to be adjusted (lowered) to suit market conditions as the rear end falls out of the economy despite continuing low interest rates etc. Negative gearing should also be scrapped.
waxyzebu

I read an article not long ago that pointed out nearly all federal parliamentarians have big $$$ invested in residential property so you'll never get real or meaningful reform while that's the case.  The only positive of the massive shedding of jobs we're currently experiencing is the fact that property is probably going to become more reasonable but who will be able to afford mortgages (or rent for that matter) when there's no well-paid permanent employment around?
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

Spot on, it's a pure market theory that means in the longer run we're going to be the losers as our capacity to make things completes the process of going off-shore; a managed transition from a relatively egalitarian country where marginalised people could aspire to middle class affluence into a much poorer society where many live on the dole or survive day to day on dodgy casual work.  As you rightly point out, our 'services' economy first envisaged by Hawke is a complete illusion; I know lots of really well-educated and skilled people who live a completely hand-to-mouth existence in our new economy because there simply isn't steady or well-paid employment around in those kind of jobs.  The problem with the collapse of heavy industry in Australia is that it couldn't be coming at a worse time - when the mining boom capital expenditure is winding back.  I think we just have to get used to the fact that people in the bottom half are all going to get a lot poorer.

I struggle to think of any sector outside of mining, finance and real-estate that's been doing really well in the last ten years... construction maybe but even that's been looking floppy recently.
don_dunstan

Well, the current modus operandi requires the production of goods to be moved to wherever the price of labour is lowest by a global elite with a profit focus and without much in the way of national allegiances. The manufactured goods are then transported around the world by ships powered by what has been and remains relatively cheap oil. The prices are so low that it is still cheaper to make something on the other side of the world and transport it thousands of miles than having it made locally.

The vacuum left by the departing industry is supposed to be filled by an affluent service sector utopia, and it is - for the top 10% or so. Of course, that's not quite how it goes for the rest. The effect can be masked by warped economics, cheap debt, housing booms etc., but many workers have experienced declines in their real wealth since their manufacturing jobs were lost, the worst case probably being in the US.

There are problems with the globalised arrangement, including:
- the factories may have to be moved again if the price of labour in a given country rises, which it tends to following industrialisation, if allowed
- the cheap energy that allows globalised production and transport to deliver goods to advanced economies cheaper than making them locally may become more expensive
- workers in the new manufacturing zones usually cop a pretty raw deal, enjoying nineteenth century style conditions of employment and developing world governments are blackmailed into practically subsidising the factories - of course we're not supposed to care about that factor
- if energy costs rise to the point that offshore production is no longer viable, it may return to Australia but the industry will have to be rebuilt from scratch and the local workers would probably also cop a raw deal, but they may have been wallowing in austerity for years by the time that happens so they'll happily accept whatever bone is thrown at them

I know lots of really well-educated and skilled people who live a completely hand-to-mouth existence in our new economy because there simply isn't steady or well-paid employment around in those kind of jobs.
don_dunstan
Again at the risk of ridicule I'd like to suggest that the education industry is becoming more of an employer and money maker than something that delivers results for its customers - another false promise, wrecked by global economic forces. That's why heavily indebted students in the US are posting videos of themselves throwing their degrees in the fire and professors are telling kids to run away from college as fast as they can.


I read an article not long ago that pointed out nearly all federal parliamentarians have big $$$ invested in residential property so you'll never get real or meaningful reform while that's the case. The only positive of the massive shedding of jobs we're currently experiencing is the fact that property is probably going to become more reasonable but who will be able to afford mortgages (or rent for that matter) when there's no well-paid permanent employment around?
don_dunstan
Sooner or later, investors will have to cop more losses as the market corrects, adjusting to the fact that average people are getting poorer. The game of flipping houses can't go on forever under these conditions, but it is being drawn out as much as possible through low interest rates, and the resultant inflation that gives the illusion of wealth when it is really destroying wealth for the majority of the population outside the "investment class". Either the market corrects or melts up. Even if a tiny aristocracy bought 90% of housing stock, what sort of rent would they be able to charge? Maybe we can just become their indentured servants, an arrangement not entirely dissimilar to the deal we have now, where we become debt slaves for 30 years to get a house.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Regardless of the arguments about the auto industry, it's better to have those thousands of workers working and paying the many hundreds of millions in taxes with an average of $150,000,000 that's a mere $150 million per annum subsidy from the Feds than to have a significant number of those thousands thrown out of work and being supported permanently by the social security system.

Joe Hockey (Treasurer) will rue the day he dared GM to wrap up its Australian operations and how will Mr Hockey deal with the recession that will follow during 2014 Question

Mike.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Regardless of the arguments about the auto industry, it's better to have those thousands of workers working and paying the many hundreds of millions in taxes with an average of $150,000,000 that's a mere $150 million per annum subsidy from the Feds than to have a significant number of those thousands thrown out of work and being supported permanently by the social security system.
We have the "adults" in charge now - read 'Thatcherite drys'.  Sydney's north shore is a million miles away from Adelaide's northern suburbs and (what's left of) Melbourne's industrial heartland. They don't give a fig about the unemployed because they don't form part of the constituency that would normally vote for them anyway.

The only thing that would really concern them is the overall slump in GDP that the flight of the car industry is going to cause as the destruction moves through to components suppliers.  To his credit, Ian McFarlane was fighting really hard to try and keep Holden here but he was up against some really significant apathy in his own cabinet who just didn't care about the longer term implications of letting the industry rot.

Joe Hockey (Treasurer) will rue the day he dared GM to wrap up its Australian operations and how will Mr Hockey deal with the recession that will follow during 2014
He's already denying that he said that.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The vacuum left by the departing industry is supposed to be filled by an affluent service sector utopia, and it is - for the top 10% or so. Of course, that's not quite how it goes for the rest. The effect can be masked by warped economics, cheap debt, housing booms etc., but many workers have experienced declines in their real wealth since their manufacturing jobs were lost, the worst case probably being in the US.
waxyzebu
I saw a doco not long ago about the plight of the working poor in the United States and it really shocked me just how dreadful conditions are over there especially if you lose your job through illness or mental health problems.  They seem to be able to ignore hordes of people living on the streets in their major cities - they're invisible.  I think we're headed that way ourselves...
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
Crocodile tears from Dennis the Menace Naptime today in Victoria, swearing to look Abbott in the eye and demand compensation...yet all he has to do in reality is restore the funding he ripped out of the TAFE system last year to provide training places for those displaced.

Don't be fooled by Holden stating that production will finish by the end of 2017 (and Ford, 2016). Technically they can stop production tomorrow if the want and still be true to their word. Affected auto industry employees, apart from the ones ready for retirement, would be far better off jumping ship now and retraining for a different career rather than hanging out for a redundancy package in a few years time, then trying to survive on Newstart. But training places have to be made available!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
What's the matter with our politicians now days?  Tony Abbott was acting like 'oh well, too bad'; Colin Barnett and Campbell Newman were actually rejoicing this morning at the COAG meeting that it was a good thing we've diminished our manufacturing capacity.  Colin Barnett in particular was saying 'nobody offers the mining industry protection, why should manufacturing get it?' In actual fact the mining industry gets loads of free kicks - the fact that they don't pay diesel excise for one, something everyone else in this country has to.

The hypocrisy is breath-taking.  WA was supported by the Eastern States for decades and now he's saying 'oh that's too bad but we're alright Jack'.

What's going to happen when mining is off the boil again?  Where are we going to get the skills in the future to manufacture things if/when the dollar is back below 50 cents?  Do any of these people see past their own greedy self-interest?
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
Don't worry the free market will look after everyone Idea

It would be interesting to see all the government subsidies (under whatever guise) various industries get.
What constitutes 'Socialism' is in the eye of the beholder. Rolling Eyes
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

What's the matter with our politicians now days?  Tony Abbott was acting like 'oh well, too bad'; Colin Barnett and Campbell Newman were actually rejoicing this morning at the COAG meeting that it was a good thing we've diminished our manufacturing capacity.  Colin Barnett in particular was saying 'nobody offers the mining industry protection, why should manufacturing get it?' In actual fact the mining industry gets loads of free kicks - the fact that they don't pay diesel excise for one, something everyone else in this country has to.

The hypocrisy is breath-taking.  WA was supported by the Eastern States for decades and now he's saying 'oh that's too bad but we're alright Jack'.
don_dunstan
Maybe the politicians are looking forward to being driven around in luxury European cars instead of Australia's finest. Abbott is getting BMWs, and we'll probably see Mercs too. Hell, we might as well get Rolls-Royces. They must be loving it. Their elite posteriors will ride seats untouched by rude Australian working class hands.



Where are we going to get the skills in the future to manufacture things if/when the dollar is back below 50 cents? Do any of these people see past their own greedy self-interest?
don_dunstan
That's easy. Future generations will pay through the nose to get the skills back from the same Asians we sent the factories to and exploited, and we'll be paid near Asian wages for the privilege of having a job. Not only that, we'll be grateful and smile about it.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The more that comes out about this the madder it makes me.  

This morning an article in the AFR explaining that all GM were actually looking for was an extra $80 million to guarantee production at Elizabeth through to 2022.  For God's sake, $80 million is small change to the Federal government, why on earth did they baulk at that amount of money?  It's like they deliberately wanted the car industry gone.

Now fair enough that there was no longer term plan for viability but another nine years would have given us plenty of scope to plan for the future while we retain those skills - and let's face it, the high dollar will NOT last, historically it never does.  When the dollar was at rock bottom 11 years ago Holden was absolutely booming and the export program was huge.  Did it occur to any of these people that maybe we should have helped them through the current abnormally high dollar?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Maybe the politicians are looking forward to being driven around in luxury European cars instead of Australia's finest. Abbott is getting BMWs, and we'll probably see Mercs too. Hell, we might as well get Rolls-Royces. They must be loving it. Their elite posteriors will ride seats untouched by rude Australian working class hands.
waxyzebu
Truly we have elected the plutocrats we deserve.  They neither know nor care of the people whose lives they impact.

The largest red flag for me prior to the election was that ridiculous promise to pay wealthy women/families huge amounts of cash so they could keep servicing their squillion-dollar mortgages while they have children.  So they can find $5 billion (or more) for that but they can't find $80 million to retain heavy manufacturing skills in our nation?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
What constitutes 'Socialism' is in the eye of the beholder. Rolling Eyes
Groundrelay
The whole thing is completely bereft of any national strategic thinking.  Even Menzies and Tommy Playford could see the need to retain skills and build a strategic national narrative so we could look after ourselves into the future.  They had just come through the war and the depression and they wanted to actually help build the nation instead of sell us out.  My late grandfather hated Bob Menzies with a passion but in comparison to our current leaders Menzies was a nation-builder and a strategic thinker who actually tried to provide opportunities for the full spectrum of Aussie society.

This mob are so busy making money and providing future 'business opportunities' for themselves and their mates (the only sort of socialism they're really interested in) that they can't even contemplate 20 or 30 years from now when the whole place is completely bankrupt, unable to produce even the most fundamental things for our own needs.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

So where would you prefer your taxes being spent?  On decent & sustainable public transport OR throwing it at a foreign owned company which was going to leave Australia anyway?

It's a no-brainer really!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The amounts we were dealing with were piffling in comparison to things like the billions thrown at negative gearing and other associated tax shelters.  I used to think like you did, that there was no sense in maintaining those multinationals here - but then in time you realise that even if it's just a job-creation scheme that it's actually serving a really useful purpose, not to mention the fact that it maintains useful skills and props up our floppy GDP numbers.

When the dollar crashes back below 50 cents we'll be really sorry, mark my words.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

When the dollar crashes back below 50 cents we'll be really sorry, mark my words.
don_dunstan
It would take a monumental crash in commodity prices for that to occur.  Given that most of Asia will remain hungry for our primary resources over the coming decades as they aspire to Western levels of affluence, that's very much an unlikely possibility IMO.

But if a massive depression/financial crash ever takes hold in that region (with associated commodity price crash), then I doubt that many of us would be able to afford a new car - independent of wherever it's made...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It would take a monumental crash in commodity prices for that to occur.
Carnot
Oh of course... that will never happen.  Asia will grow exponentially forever and ever.  China will never develop their own gas-fields or mines in Africa.  China and the West will never fall out over Taiwan or North Korea or the South China Sea resources.

Sounds exactly like the Tony Abbott cabinet of 'no plan B'.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

Don't worry the free market will look after everyone Idea

It would be interesting to see all the government subsidies (under whatever guise) various industries get.
What constitutes 'Socialism' is in the eye of the beholder. Rolling Eyes
Groundrelay
Haha yes, if only we had a free market, some things would be better.

Instead we have a special form of socialism or even fascism that we are meant to believe is the free market - a rigged, fraudulent game that allows failed business models to flourish when they should have collapsed and been replaced with something else. The same people who want us to believe that will condemn what they call socialism (giving money to poor people, nationalised industry etc) because they consider it to be theft of their wealth by an evil, tyrannical State... but it's all right for them to take other people's money because they are somehow essential to the survival of society and we really need them...

I'd also like to see the subsidies, grants, breaks and handouts given to private industry laid out clearly. It's hard to keep track of it all.


So where would you prefer your taxes being spent? On decent & sustainable public transport OR throwing it at a foreign owned company which was going to leave Australia anyway? It's a no-brainer really!
Carnot
If we were asked whether we wanted Holden and Ford to survive or to expand our trams and build HSR, I know which I'd choose. Alas, I doubt we'll be asked.

Oh of course... that will never happen. Asia will grow exponentially forever and ever.
don_dunstan
This belief in eternal exponential growth shows how short sighted and ignorant people are and how easy it is to brainwash them into believing that things will always get better, even while they are getting screwed. Politicians can point to growth in nominal figures and what amounts to little more than inflation and debt, tell us we are richer than ever, even if we aren't, and we'll probably believe them. Anyone who understood the exponential function would soon realise that continual exponential growth is a highly unlikely scenario. It's another false god worshipped by millions. We're operating under a global system that depends on growth not to throw society into chaos. Chaos, here we come!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I'd also like to see the subsidies, grants, breaks and handouts given to private industry laid out clearly. It's hard to keep track of it all.
waxyzebu
Thanks for a really interesting riposte.

I can't agree with you more about government hand-outs to the private sector; both sides are guilty of it and it's completely out of control.  One of the best stories I heard a few years ago was the Howard government's largesse towards the wine industry whereby there was an 'adjustment' grant given to producers to help them get over a temporary glut in certain varieties.  A small producer (who was a friend of my old man's) told me that some really unscrupulous big conglomerates were importing cheap wine from Argentina and South Africa, mixing it with Aussie wine and then claiming the grant before dumping it all down the drain. Apparently the rort went completely undetected by the government but it was common knowledge in the industry.

When you realise the extent of waste that occurs with government grants to the private sector it makes the amounts spent on keeping the car industry going appear minuscule.

If we were asked whether we wanted Holden and Ford to survive or to expand our trams and build HSR, I know which I'd choose. Alas, I doubt we'll be asked.
waxyzebu
We'll never be asked; even when people demand better public transport the government still refuses to deliver. They refuse to deliver because they want to provide alternatives that suit their own personal agenda of providing opportunities for business 'mates' and giving themselves lucrative board and lobbying positions post-politics; the system is completely wreaking the nation through greedy, naked self-interest.

Ted Baillieu was elected in 2010 on a platform of hugely expanded rail and public transport and what did we actually get?  A new toll-way.  It would be lovely if the money saved from wreaking the car industry was put into public transport but as Tony Abbott has already told us he refuses to fund any sort of public transit full-stop there's not a hope in hell that will happen.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

Given your handle, I suppose we shouldn't be  surprised by endless biased drivel. Does it get boring to produce, 'cause it certainly gets boring to read? If you think that both sides are guilty of something, why would you endlessly bang on about one group of politicians and completely ignore the other? Who was in power when Ford and Mitsubishi left? Were you wringing your hands then or were the over-paid workers of Geelong less important than the over-paid workers of Elizabeth?
     GM learnt the lessons of enterprise negotiations well. Ignore the realities of the market and roll up every 6 months with their hands out. "Mate, I know we had a deal, but mate, things have changed." As with all stand-over merchants, sooner or later some-one has to say no. Gillard or Swan or Rudd have the spine?
Didn't think so.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

Given your handle, I suppose we shouldn't be  surprised by endless biased drivel. Does it get boring to produce, 'cause it certainly gets boring to read? If you think that both sides are guilty of something, why would you endlessly bang on about one group of politicians and completely ignore the other? Who was in power when Ford and Mitsubishi left? Were you wringing your hands then or were the over-paid workers of Geelong less important than the over-paid workers of Elizabeth?
     GM learnt the lessons of enterprise negotiations well. Ignore the realities of the market and roll up every 6 months with their hands out. "Mate, I know we had a deal, but mate, things have changed." As with all stand-over merchants, sooner or later some-one has to say no. Gillard or Swan or Rudd have the spine?
Didn't think so.
fzr560
Everyone is free to throw in his two bob, including filling in gaps which may have been left for whatever reason, whether deliberate or maybe because the actions of one party in government were used as examples. He doesn't have to say everything about everyone. I for one am certainly not singling out Liberal when I criticise politicians. Neither major party is any good in my view, nor are they much different from each other. They're on the same side. They're largely just clapped out lawyers on sale to the highest donor.

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