VACC, the peak automotive industry body in Victoria, with more than 5,000 small business members, is urging the Minister for Industry and Innovation, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet to continue Federal Government investment in local manufacturing. Minister Combet’s Department is now responsible for manufacturing, following last week’s Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

“Local manufacturing is facing many challenges. We trust Minister Combet will be an outspoken advocate for assistance for local manufacturers, including the automotive industry, to ensure long term jobs and growth,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

“VACC believes that manufacturing is so important to our economy that we all should be backing it to the hilt. Indeed, we would like to see the Minister’s catchcry be ‘invest in Australia’.

“’Invest in Australia’ is not just about money. It is also about state of the art training, it is about skills development and it is a mindset to keep Australia at the forefront. We need to do business with local manufacturers even where the latter may not be quite as competitive as the overseas competitor.

“The recently released official VFACTS vehicle sales figures for February illustrate this country’s appetite for purchasing locally manufactured vehicles.  Of the 85,723 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles sold in February 2012, sales of locally manufactured brands accounted for 37 per cent with Toyota, the top seller overall, with 14,849 vehicles, Holden second placed with 9,688 and Ford, in fifth place, with 6,951 vehicles. Toyota, Holden and Ford are produced locally and purchased locally.

“We cannot ignore the fact that demand exists for locally manufactured goods. VACC believes that by ‘investing in Australia’, governments and communities can ensure the continued sustainability of local supply. It will require continued financial investment, and it will also require more considered investment. Local manufacturing is important to this country and we look forward to consulting Minister Combet on this very issue,” Mr Purchase said.

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