South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has accused the federal government of blame-shifting amid reports car maker Holden will cease its Australian operations in 2016.
“The future of Holdens is in the hands of the prime minister,” he told Sky News on Monday.
Mr Weatherill wants the federal government to restore the $500 million it proposes to cut in automotive sector subsidies.
Labor says the government has confidential documents that show it would cost less than $150 million extra a year to keep Holden in Australia until 2025.
The government is waiting on a Productivity Commission report before deciding its next move.
Mr Weatherill described as “blame-shifting” reports government ministers believe Holden’s US parent company already has decided to stop manufacturing in Australia.
Other countries around the world supported their automotive sector far more than Australia, he said.
“In most cases by many more dollars per citizen than we do here in this country.”
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the government’s plan to remove the “deadweight” cost of carbon tax would assist Holden.
“We could give Australian vehicles a level playing field,” he told reporters in Canberra, adding car exporters in Japan, Korea and Thailand paid no carbon tax.