The Napthine Government today proved it was a policy free zone by serving up a half-baked imitation of Labor’s commitment to mandate the purchasing of locally made cars by all government agencies, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said today.

Mr Andrew’s said today’s glib announcement with no detail by Mr Napthine is further evidence that the Napthine Government has no jobs plan for Victoria.

“It is pleasing to see that the Napthine Government has backflipped on its previous criticism of Labor’s car industry plan, but it appears Mr Napthine isn’t willing to make the full commitment Labor made in November 2012,” Mr Andrews said.

“However after being asleep at the Cabinet table for two and a half years Victorians are still waiting for Mr Napthine to show decisive leadership and produce a jobs strategy.

“A key part of Victorian Labor’s Plan for Jobs and Growth released in November 2012 was the mandatory procurement of cars purchased by all government departments and agencies which are locally made.

“What Mr Napthine has failed to do today is provide full details of his plan and when it will be implemented. It takes more than letter writing – it requires hard work, something that’s been missing for two and a half years under this Government.

“Labor’s plan included that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) – which meets next Friday – should put on the agenda a national approach to buying Australian made cars.

“The combined buying power of not just government departments but also hospitals, schools, universities, local councils, statutory authorities and emergency services is significant.”

During 2011 Australian governments purchased 60,000 new vehicles, but less than 33 per cent were built locally. In Victoria the proportion of Australian made vehicles purchased by the Victorian Government was higher at 59 per cent.

“The Australian auto industry is under real pressure and it’s not good enough that Australian Government’s and agencies that receive public money are only buying one locally made car for every three cars they purchase,” Mr Andrews said.

“Buying locally made cars won’t overcome all the challenges in the auto industry, but it will make a difference and keep Victorians employed.

“This buying power needs to be harnessed to help drive demand for locally made cars. Current levels of locally made cars purchased by governments are simply not high enough.

“Governments across Australia can do something and while financial assistance is important – so is placing an order that will encourage investment in the automotive industry and help to keep Victorian workers in jobs so their families can prosper.”

Published on April 11, 2013