Posted on 29. Feb, 2012 in News

The Shadow Minister for Manufacturing, Adem Somyurek MP, has today called on the Baillieu Government to stop spending money on more reviews and inquiries and instead concentrate on using that money to reinstate the 32 manufacturing support programs that were in place under the previous Labor State government.

“We had a comprehensive Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Manufacturing in Victoria in 2010, of which members of the Baillieu government were part,” Mr Somyurek said.

“They chose to do nothing with that information.

“Then last year came the costly inquiry by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission into Victorian manufacturing, which the Government sat on while devising a response.

“Subsequently the State Government issued both a response to that inquiry and, in December last year, a manufacturing statement.

“While the ink on that document is still drying, and the Minister for Manufacturing struggles to even define what productivity is in State Parliament, the Baillieu government is sitting around waiting for some more advice on what to do about manufacturing, this time from the forthcoming report into state finances (the so-called Vertigan Report).

“Instead of waiting for others to come up with ideas, it is time the Minister and the Premier had a vision about manufacturing in this state and started taking some decisive action.

“Already more than 20,000 jobs have been lost in the sector since they came to government and the Minister is doing nothing to stem the flow.

“Yesterday in State Parliament he confirmed the worst case scenario for local manufacturers by refusing to ensure that manufacturers would receive at least the same level of funding as the 32 programs in place under previous governments.

“That translates into an $80 million funding cut for manufacturing while money is being spent on endless inquiries with no foreseeable beneficial results.

“In today’s Australian Financial Review, a Baillieu Government spokesperson is quoted as saying that ‘The Baillieu Government will work with companies… to secure the best outcome for Victoria. This does not necessarily involve…financial assistance.’

“This just demonstrates that this government does not have a clue. To think it can rip $80 million out of manufacturing here in Victoria and not impact on the viability of local businesses is a joke.”

Mr Somyurek also questioned the consistency on the Baillieu Government’s position on the importance of local content targets for Victorian manufacturers.

“On the one hand we have Minister Dalla-Riva making an undertaking in the Parliament yesterday that the Coalition will keep to its election commitment of majority local content for the new trains it has promised to deliver.

“Yet on the other hand we have Treasury recommending that local content should not figure in the procurement process for Government contracts.

“Despite the endless reviews, reports, submissions, statements and speeches, I think we can all say that manufacturers across Victoria are confused and bewildered by the State Government’s position.

“It is time the Minister comes clean and outlines exactly where he stands on the matters crucial to manufacturers, instead of hiding for cover until another review comes out.”

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