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Ag a better bet than cars

17 Jan, 2013 10:15 AM
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NATIONAL Party MPs said government support to develop Australia's agricultural assets would be a better investment than subsidising foreign car makers, after General Motors and Toyota said they may seek additional taxpayer assistance.

"It stands to reason that we are more likely to be exporting food to South-East Asia than exporting cars," said Senator Barnaby Joyce.

"[But] I don't have a choice; nor do I have any sign of a government that is willing to make the small steps towards a better future in agriculture. I do believe Australia should have a manufacturing industry."

The Australian Financial Review reports Senator Joyce said the benefits of investment in agriculture were obvious.

"If people from overseas can see the future in Australian agriculture and they're gaining a substantial foothold in the prime sections of Australian agriculture, then there should be a flashing light going off for the rest of Australia."

General Motors and Toyota said on Tuesday they may ask for additional money on top of the estimated $1 billion they have received in the past decade to revamp engine plants and explore new local models.

National Party Leader Warren Truss said the Labor government had halved the budget of the Department of Agriculture from $3.8 billion to $1.7 billion since 2007.

He said the car industry would get an immediate boost under a Coalition government with the abolition of the carbon tax.

The Coalition remained committed to its $1 billion for the Automotive Transformation Scheme, Mr Truss said.

"Asia will increasingly look outwards for others to fill the food void and we are uniquely positioned on their doorstep," he said.

"But we, as a nation, need to be geared for growth if our farmers are to achieve their potential. That means investing in agriculture and regional infrastructure."

Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson admitted the automotive manufacturing industry will not survive without government funding.

"I am strongly supportive of government co-investment in local car manufacturers. [The government funding] has generated $1 billion in co-investment from GM and around $4 billion in economic activity," Mr Thomson told Sky News on Wednesday morning.

"If we're not prepared to engage, we won't have an automotive manufacturing industry in Australia and that's a bad thing. Those jobs are worth fighting for."

Coalition scrutiny of government spokesman Jamie Briggs said the best way to assist the automotive manufacturing industry was to repeal the carbon tax.

"The car industry is paying $80 million worth of carbon tax. Take that pressure off them and you'll give them an opportunity to compete."

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READER COMMENTS

Bushie Bill
17/01/2013 11:25:24 AM

It is not a matter of either/or, you National Party dills. Not a cent should be paid to hold up the weak and inefficient, whether it is an international billion dollar car company or an inefficient subsistence farmer with the backside out of his pants and his begging bowl forever held high and who is forever whingeing about how tough life is and how no-one appreciates his agrarian socialist philosophy. When will the National Party boofheads get it through their thick sculls?
Julie
17/01/2013 5:21:05 PM

Don't you eat food....try growing it Bushie Bill...we all wish we didn't have to feed morons like you...
daw
17/01/2013 7:35:10 PM

Presumptuous Bushie Dill Subsistence farming comes about for a range of reasons but to categorically state they are inefficient is pure bull$*it. Most are willing to accept their lot but when it is exacerbated by bureaucracy and unjust laws eg native veg act. then they have every right to cry foul.
Trugger
18/01/2013 5:41:07 AM

"Sculls" Bushie? There isn't much opportunity or places in the bush for sculls to be used. In fact, I seriously doubt if there are many farmers owning sculls or participating in scullung. So how do you get rowing into an argument? Answer; Leave it to Bushie.
Buskie Bill
18/01/2013 7:59:59 AM

Hey Truggs, I can only presume your attempt at wit is motivated by your inability to respond intelligently, cogently and coherently to my post. Incidentally, what is "scullung"? It sounds a nasty German disease. daw, you are learning from the Mutt how to (very simplistically and crudely) introduce red herrings. Stay on focus if you can. Julie, sure I eat food, but I have no idea why you should believe this amazing fact should justify having to support your lifestyle decision to produce food inefficiently.
Loc Hey
18/01/2013 8:39:15 AM

' Sculls ' Bushie ? your spelling is as bad as your counting . And are you now Buskie Bill and not Bushie Bill ? Is that another spelling mistake or have you finally found your true calling in life ' busking'.
Ian Mott
18/01/2013 11:38:57 AM

Build dams on every river flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef and millions of tonnes of silt will be captured while the water will add three times its value. And if you are serious about reduced CO2 emissions then jobs in country towns involve only a few minutes of commuting.
cv
18/01/2013 1:06:21 PM

Bushie, I'd argue that subsistence farmers aren't the problem, its the large monoculture producers who go into debt to pay for their specialised equipment and fertilisers/pesticides. Also the current understanding of efficiency in agriculture is nonsense in my opinion. For example, due to soil type it may be more efficient to produce say wheat in a particular area of NSW but with monocultures comes ever diminishing returns and the requirement to use more inputs to maintain production due to soil degradation etc. So in the end you get an area of land that can no longer produce the crop.
been farmin
18/01/2013 3:17:18 PM

When they run out of food then they will have to eat the cars they have subsidised...
Ian Mott
22/01/2013 11:15:05 AM

The sooner we let the motor industry die off the sooner Adelaide will stop stealing water from the MDB. Subsidise a state that will shaft the rest of the basin without batting an eyelid? You've got to be kidding.

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COMMENTS

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Emily, have U seen what is happening to Chinas peasant farmers in their country? Cleared out and
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Hey it is pretty dumb all unifying together to make good progress if you are headed in the wrong
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jillaroo, how right you are. In fact Australian farmers still supply the lowest priced food