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Analysis and Comment (18)

Australia’s loss of economic complexity is leading to a primitive economy in which the nation’s share of the value of its products shrinks and living standards fall. Australia’s loss of economic complexity is leading to a primitive economy in which the nation’s share of the value of its products shrinks and living standards fall. Marija Piliponyte/Shutterstock

For want of industry policy, our living standards are set to fall

Australia faces a fall in living standards unless policy action is taken. This is due to de-industrialisation and loss of economic complexity. The higher the economic complexity, the stronger the economy’s…
Workers who lost jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks have faced mixed fortunes. Workers who lost jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks have faced mixed fortunes. AAP/Dean Lewins

The story of steel maps the job future for car workers

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is right when he describes Australia’s car industry workers as “highly skilled people, adaptable people”. He has also been saying this week that the departure of Toyota and Holden…
Efficient manufacturing depends largely on scale, and Australia’s car production numbers have fallen. Efficient manufacturing depends largely on scale, and Australia’s car production numbers have fallen. AAP/Adi Weda

Car manufacturing numbers just don’t stack up

Now that the final nail has been hammered in to the car industry’s coffin, what does it mean for the Australian economy? As always, the data is a good place to start. Efficient manufacturing depends largely…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is betting the rapid demise of Australia’s automotive sector can be contained politically. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is betting the rapid demise of Australia’s automotive sector can be contained politically. Alan Porritt/AAP

Managed decline to rapid demise: Abbott’s car industry gamble

For the past 30 years, Australian automotive industry policies can be characterised as managed decline. Beginning in the 1980s with the Button Plan, the aim of policy was to consolidate the industry and…
The impact of job loss on car industry workers is multifaceted, and those arguing ‘better jobs’ will emerge could be fooling themselves. The impact of job loss on car industry workers is multifaceted, and those arguing ‘better jobs’ will emerge could be fooling themselves. Julian Smith/AAP

What the departure of Toyota, Holden and Ford really means for workers

People change jobs constantly, and the jobs lost in car manufacturing closures are insignificant in the context of total job changes - no different to everyday job changes. So say some commentators opining…
Do I look like I need leading? Do I look like I need leading? Linda Tanner

Why autocratic bosses are a dying breed

The idea that everyone wants leadership and wants to be led is a popular one, especially among corporate CEOs, but how true is it? Recent political events in Ukraine and Thailand should focus business…
The right policy settings will drive Australia toward a creative economy that produces knowledge and information. The right policy settings will drive Australia toward a creative economy that produces knowledge and information. Paul Gorbould

From manufacturing’s ashes a creative economy could rise

General Motors Holden’s decision to pull the pin on its Melbourne manufacturing plant spurred renewed debate around government-subsidised industry sectors. But instead of throwing money into a flailing…
Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. judepics/Flickr

Measuring the fallout of Holden’s ‘perfect storm’

For many decades, Australians have regarded a local car industry as a demonstration of our domestic capability. Sometimes, we have paid dearly for our enthusiasm. In the late 1970s, import quotas limited…
The withdrawal of General Motors in Australia follows the step back of government support for GMH in the US. The withdrawal of General Motors in Australia follows the step back of government support for GMH in the US. Hugo90/Flickr

Moving on: Holden closure shows we need a new growth agenda

General Motors has confirmed it will cease manufacturing in Australia from 2017, citing a “perfect storm of negative influences”. GM chairman Dan Akerson said these forces include “the sustained strength…
What now for Holden workers? What now for Holden workers? Julian Smith/AAP

Walking away from Holden: Abbott finishes what Hewson started

“Building cars in Australia is just not sustainable.” That was GM Holden managing director Mike Devereux, announcing the closure of Holden. Ominous words for Toyota as well. Toyota responded that Holden’s…
Holden may shut up shop in Australia, and the government is already considering the fallout. Holden may shut up shop in Australia, and the government is already considering the fallout. Lukas Coch/AAP

Adding up the flow-on effects of a Holden closure

The idea of further government support for the ailing automotive industry (AKA the Holden problem) generates considerable political and economic debate. For economists and business academics, it comes…
Ford Australia has announced it will cut 440 Victorian jobs by November this year. Ford Australia has announced it will cut 440 Victorian jobs by November this year. AAP

Australia’s choice: pay for a car industry, or live with the consequences

Ford’s announcement on Tuesday of 440 job cuts is the culmination of almost 40 years of automotive industry policy failure. Ford will slash 15% of its workforce and cut production by 29%, as the industry…
Electric cars won’t solve this. Electric cars won’t solve this. Michael Loke

Green cars? Electric vehicles are marketing a myth

“What is the value of zero?” asks the seductive commercial for the new Nissan Leaf (due to launch in Australia in April). Set against a montage of natural and man-made images of “0”, the Leaf advert asks…
Future freeways could be very different places. Future freeways could be very different places. johnsnape

The beginning of the end for automobility?

Car travel is becoming a victim of its own success. If we in the West had only kept cars for ourselves, automobility could have survived much longer. But we shared them with the rest of the world, and…
Times have changed; the car industry needs to catch up. Times have changed; the car industry needs to catch up. aussiefordadverts/Flickr

Australian car industry needs lower emissions, not handouts

The Australian Government has been bailing out automotive manufacturers since 1985. Both that year’s Button Plan and the 2008 Bracks Report recommended restructure and additional funding. But unless the…
Australia’s economy has outgrown car manufacturing, so industry subsidies are pointless. Australia’s economy has outgrown car manufacturing, so industry subsidies are pointless. AAP

A country that ‘makes things’? There’s more to Australia than manufacturing

It is no coincidence the federal government is increasing its existing multi-billion dollar subsidies to the car industry at the same time it is increasing the tax burden on the mining sector. Price signals…
Would Australia’s automotive industry survive without government assistance? Would Australia’s automotive industry survive without government assistance?

Australia’s handout-addicted car industry needs some tough love

The Federal Government will contribute millions of dollars to Australian car manufacturers Holden and Ford in an effort to keep Australia’s automotive sector afloat. The government will add $34 million…
Is the family car of our imagination the family car of the future? Is the family car of our imagination the family car of the future? blentley

The end of the Commodore? Redefining the myth of the Australian family car

Over the past ten years, total vehicle sales in Australia have increased by roughly 35%. But sales of the once-most-popular cars, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, have halved. This fall in sales has…

Research Briefs (1)