10 Nov 2008

Australian car makers gets billion-dollar boost to go green

8:35 pm on 10 November 2008

The Australian government has announced a $A6.2 billion package to support the country's car industry, an initiative Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says will support jobs at a time of a global financial crisis.

Launching the car industry plan in Melbourne on Monday, he said Australia needed a green-car industry that would create high-paid, high-skilled jobs.

The plan sets aside $A500 million - double the amount recommended by a review - for a green car innovation fund.

It also confirms a reduction in the automotive tariff to 5% will go ahead as planned in 2010.

The investment package is aimed at making the car industry more environmentally sustainable as well as helping to lift sales, which have been hurt by the global financial crisis and foreign competition.

"We take decisive action to build an international, competitive green economy for the future," Mr Rudd said. "Australia needs a green-car industry that manufactures the fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicles of the future and creates the well-paid, high-skilled green jobs of the future."

The choice was not between having a growing economy in the short-term and a green economy in the medium to long-term.

"We can work effectively to develop both, and that's what a large part of today's package is all about."