Communist Party of Australia  


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive

Pete's Corner


Press Fund


About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction

Contact Us

facebook, twitter

Major Issues





Climate Change



What's On






Books, T-shirts, CDs/DVDs, Badges, Misc


Issue #1639      May 21, 2014

Budget hits industry and jobs

The Budget will instantly hit workers through higher medical bills and higher petrol prices but there is another serious threat – that is to their job security from the brutal slashing of industry programs meant to rescue and expand manufacturing.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) fears that the axing of 10 major industry programs could bring forward auto job losses, reduce Australian content on major projects and strangle new technology firms and companies struggling to diversify into new markets.

The cutting of $846 million in these varied industry programs over five years cannot be replaced by a single Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program with just over half that funding.

When combined with cutbacks to CSIRO research funds, abandoning the renewable energy industry and nastily stripping apprentices of their tool allowances it adds up to a government with no care for jobs and workers. 

“Health and education are clearly the headline issues, but cuts across the board to industry, innovation and job creation will be silent killers for small and medium manufacturers,” said AMWU national president Andrew Dettmer.

“Australian industry – especially manufacturing – is already struggling through a lack of government investment and new free-trade deals with Japan and Korea.

“The car industry’s announced closure will soon see tens of thousands out of work. But this budget provides no relief, with further cuts to industry, cuts to research and innovation and no future plan for job creation.”

Programs on the $846 million chopping block include the Australian Industry Participation Program, Commercialisation Australia, Enterprise Solutions, the Innovation Investment Fund, the Industry Innovation Council, Enterprise Connect, and Industry Innovation Precincts.

“These programs were supported by industry, employers and unions as being excellent job creators and support for business, particularly for SMEs [small to medium enterprises],” said Mr Dettmer.

There has been no consultation over how their replacement, the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program can use a paltry $461 million to make sure that innovation stays in Australia.

The cutting of the Australian Industry Participation Program means there will be no compulsion on developers of major projects over $500 million to provide a plan for compulsory Australian content, particularly metals firms in the mining states.

Premature job shedding in the auto industry is a risk as the Abbott governments cuts $837.7 million to the auto industry, including ending the Automotive Transformation Scheme ATS) from 2018 and ditching the Supporting Automotive Sector jobs scheme.

Cuts of $200 million to programs over this and the next financial years could see car makers exit early.

“The ATS money should be redirected immediately to parts manufacturers to allow them to transition, money is needed for training and assistance as the $100 million Growth Fund is woefully inadequate,” Mr Dettmer said.

The AMWU estimates that $6.4 billion in potential contracts for Australian firms could be sent overseas as a result of cuts to research and innovation bodies working with industry.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will be abolished for a saving of $338 million.

The CSIRO takes a $111 million hit over four years, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation cut by $27.6 million – while the PM’s science prize gets a grant of $5.5 million.

“Research and development is being stripped while Mr Abbott awards prizes, it’s typical of this government’s warped priorities,” he said.

Next article – Federal Budget 2014: ABC Friends urges Senate to block Budget

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA