TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is for the Minister for Industry
and Trade, Martin Pakula. Can the minister update the house on the latest
developments in Victoria’s important automotive industry, particularly in regard
to Victoria’s major automotive manufacturers?
M. P. PAKULA (Minister for Industry and Trade) — I am always pleased to
receive a question from Ms Tierney on the automotive industry, because I am well
aware of her lifelong interest in it. It gives me pleasure to be able to inform
the house that last week I was able to join the outgoing chairman and managing
director of General Motors Holden, Mark Reuss, the federal Minister for
Innovation, Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Carr, and the
Deputy Premier of South Australia, Kevin Foley, out at Holden at Fishermans Bend
for a new and exciting fuel-efficiency announcement.
From September Holden is introducing two new, next-generation
V6 engines, incorporating brand-new technology known as spark ignition direct
injection (SIDI), which will be made standard on the locally built Commodore
sedan, Sportwagon, Caprice and Statesman range as well as the SV6 Ute. With that
new technology, the Commodore Omega in official testing used just 9.3 litres of
fuel per 100 kilometres. That is a 13 per cent fuel-efficiency saving on current
models, making the new engine more fuel efficient
than some current four-cylinder vehicles.
That all means substantial savings for consumers. It means less
money at the petrol pump, but importantly it also means lower carbon emissions
on the road. At 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres, Holden estimates that a motorist
travelling an annual average of about 20 000 kilometres could save about $325 at
current petrol prices — but also produce 600 kilograms less carbon emissions.
The Victorian government welcomes Holden’s announcement. We are
absolutely delighted that those two new world-standard engines will be built
right here at Holden’s Fishermans Bend plant and that they will be fitted to
Mrs Coote interjected.
Hon. M. P. PAKULA — The initiative, Mrs Coote, represents a
significant commitment to investment in Victoria’s vehicle industry. It
represents a significant investment in a more sustainable vehicle industry for
this nation, because, as we have said before, fuel efficiency is at the heart of
sustainability and sustainability is at the very heart of the future of the
automotive industry in this country. There have been a number of examples over
recent weeks which demonstrate that the industry understands that and is not
prepared just to respond but is taking concrete action.
Members will have seen last week’s announcement by Holden and
heard about the development stage of the new Cruze. There was also the recent
mission to China by ministers Crean and Carr where they were able to announce a
significant uplift in the sale of engines to China.
We saw the $230 million new sustainable-engine announcement by
Ford only a few weeks ago, and with more good news for our local industry the
announcement by Ford and by Toyota of their intention to scrap down days for the
rest of 2009. Toyota is in the midst of preparations for the new Toyota Camry.
All of those initiatives demonstrate that our automotive
manufacturers and the component industry that supplies them are embracing the
fact that a fuel-efficiency dividend is going to be the thing that powers the
next generation of automotive products.
Through the Victorian automotive manufacturing action plan,
through our manufacturing statement and through our collaboration with the
commonwealth in the delivery of its $6 billion New Car Plan for a Greener
Future, we are doing our bit to support local manufacturers and local component
suppliers, unlike some of those opposite who want to leave this industry for
We have heard former Premier Kennett’s comments about letting
the industry wither; we have heard the comments of Mr Davis’s former staffer, Mr
Wilson, who said, ‘Let the industry wither on the vine’; and now we have the
opposition’s federal counterparts threatening to block the commonwealth’s Green
Car Plan in the Senate.
On the one hand we have a government committed to the future of
the industry — a government committed to a more fuel-efficient, environmentally
friendly and sustainable industry for Victoria’s automotive future — and on the
other hand we have an opposition that would just let the industry wither and