PM's industry scheme has no guts, no teeth: Bandt

Labor's industry plan lacks guts, Greens Deputy Leader and industry spokesperson, Adam Bandt, said today. Major projects, including the big miners, should have to do more than simply talk to local firms and put an advertisement in the paper. There should also be a requirement to use a minimum level of Australian content.

Mr Bandt said while the plan to connect business and research, including a Melbourne innovation hub, is a great initiative, the government's scheme to create and protect jobs will fail if there isn't real support for manufacturing and services.

"Labor's industry plan lacks guts", Mr Bandt said

"The Greens are worried that this scheme will create jobs in the same way that Labor's mining tax creates revenue."

"The Greens want to see a jobs plan with teeth to support our struggling manufacturing sector."

"Big projects should be required to use local firms, not just talk to them."

"With some big resource projects using as little as 20% Australian steel, we could be doing much more to support local industries."

"This is another example of Labor's lack of courage and inability to stand up to the big miners."

"The plan for the bringing business and research together is a fantastic initiative, including in Melbourne, and the Greens have been calling for this for some time, but this is an investment for the medium term. We also need to act to stop the hemorrhaging in a manufacturing sector being squeezed by the mining boom."

"The manufacturing sector has lost 125,000 jobs in the last 4 years and we have had 11 months of contraction in manufacturing. If the government doesn't take more courageous action, the job losses will continue."

"We are concerned about the proposed cuts to the R&D tax credits to fund these initiatives, when it's exactly what a proper mining tax should fund. We will look at the details, but we will want to avoid a case of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'"

"If we had a proper mining tax we could be funding a boost to R&D. We want to see Australia get to a level of 3% of GDP spent on R&D - public and private - and the government needs to set a target for that. This would bring us into line with the best of the OECD."

"We also need a big R&D investment in solar technology parks, but this is conspicuously absent from Labor's announcement."

Mr Bandt will seek to move amendments to the government's Australian Jobs Bill to strengthen minimum local content levels on major projects, including in mining.

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