Greens call for manufacturing inquiry


The Australian Greens will put forward a parliamentary motion for independent inquiry into manufacturing and jobs.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said earlier this week he was disappointed the Prime Minister Julia Gillard had rejected calls for a manufacturing inquiry.

Instead Ms Gillard announced a one-day jobs forum to be held on October 6, which Mr Bandt has described as a “talkfest.”

About 80 representatives from business, the trade union movement, government and academia have been invited to participate in the forum.

Ms Gillard said the Government does not see the need for an inquiry into manufacturing, despite a spate of high-profile job losses in the sector.

Mr Bandt said all the government seems prepared to do is to have a "talkfest and media spin".

"If they won't listen to the calls of workers and unions and the industry for a full examination of the problems facing the manufacturing sector, then we will," he said.

Mr Bandt said the Greens would seek to establish a wide-ranging joint select committee inquiry into the state of the manufacturing sector, its future, how it will deal with a high dollar and a mining boom that's "good for some sectors of the economy and very bad for others".

The inquiry would also look into local content rules and whether it is appropriate that some of the big mining and resource projects in the country use as little as 10 per cent of Australian steel.

Canada and Brazil have local content rules and their economies have gone from "strength to strength," Mr Bandt said.

"They are not anti-competitive, they are pro-jobs," Mr Bandt said.

"I haven't seen anyone taking revenge on Canada or Brazil for having local content rules.

"We should be able to have a sensible debate in this country about jobs and manufacturing without the name-calling of protectionism.”

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