Victoria Minister for Manufacturing David Hodgett
Ford Off Work Due To Rudd’s FBT Changes
Victor P Taffa
Ford workers have been forced to stay home today due to the impact of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) changes, Minister for Manufacturing David Hodgett revealed today.
This is the first of six down days that Ford is taking over the next six weeks on which all production will cease because of a drop in orders for new vehicles following the FBT changes.
Mr. Hodgett revealed that an emergency meeting of the Premier’s Ford Taskforce had convened on Tuesday, and that the Victorian Coalition Government was deeply concerned about the impacts FBT changes were having right across the automotive sector.
“This is a dark day for automotive manufacturing in Victoria.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“Ford has the first of six stop work days today, with the second tomorrow. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impacts being felt right across the sector.”
“Kevin Rudd’s FBT changes stand to reduce Australia’s car production by 20 %. We employ 24,000 people in the automotive sector in Victoria; we are talking about thousands of potential job losses here.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“The impacts of Kevin Rudd’s ill-considered decision are huge. Dealers are already reporting drops in sales and up to 70 % say they are facing the prospect of laying off staff.”
“This will flow right through the supply chain. We have a huge number of automotive supply companies who will be absolutely gutted by a 20 % drop in production.”
“These FBT changes are a serious blow to the automotive manufacturing industry, which already faces considerable challenges including the high Australian dollar, inflexible workplace laws and the carbon tax.” Mr. Hodgett said.
“It is clear that these FBT changes were proposed with no consultation to industry or studies into the effect they would have on the manufacturing sector.”
“I call on Kevin Rudd to reverse his policy on changing the FBT, before it does irreparable damage to automotive manufacturing in this country.” Mr. Hodgett said.