Hockey: “Deep reservations” about new GM handout

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says he has “deep reservations” about plans to give US motoring giant General Motors $275 million, while Environment Minister Tony Burke defended the move as a “co-investment”.

“That company is nearly 50% owned by foreign governments, so it’s not as if they haven’t got the pockets to invest,” Hockey told the Seven Network.

“What about all those tourism industries and businesses in, for example, Queensland that have been hard hit with a strong Australian dollar?” he said. “What about the retail sector?”

Environment Minister Tony Burke defended Labor’s “co-investment” slogan, saying General Motors would inject a billion dollars into its Australian operations over the next 10 years as part of the deal.

“There is a whole components industry in South Australia and Victoria, as well as a whole lot of medium-sized businesses and small businesses who are reliant on Holden being here,” he says.

“This agreement doesn’t only make sure they have security in their dealings with Holden – it actually opens up some world markets.”

Australian ‘high-value’ manufacturing expanded much faster than GDP growth, according to HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham.

“There are parts of manufacturing that have been really struggling, and parts that are doing fairly well,” he said last month.

“Manufactured exports are up overall. Manufactured exports have risen for those manufacturing industries that produce professional, scientific materials and specialised machinery. ‘Lower value-added’ manufacturers such as car producers have seen declines.”

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