February 20, 2014  |  Adjournment

Government Vehicle Procurement

Mr SOMYUREK (South Eastern Metropolitan) I
raise a matter for the minister at the table, the Assistant Treasurer, Mr
Gordon Rich-Phillips, concerning the Victorian government’s purchase of
Australian-manufactured vehicles. In November 2012 Victorian Labor,
understanding that the local auto industry needed urgent assistance, announced
the policy that mandated that all state government agencies and departments,
including outer agencies, purchase locally manufactured vehicles where a
fit-for-purpose vehicle was available.

For 14 months the coalition government consistently
and obstinately refused to follow our lead, insisting that our policy was
unnecessary because it claimed — Mr Gordon Rich-Phillips claimed in this place
more than once — that 98 per cent of state government purchases were of
Australian-made vehicles. He was pretty clever with his use of language.

I have asked him specifically in this place during
question time what that figure was when a broader definition was applied –
that is, when it was applied to more than just the government fleet. He was
very oblique in his answers. Under the cover of Mr Bernie Finn’s question posed
during question time on 6 February, Mr Gordon Rich-Phillips came into this
place and announced another policy and sort of slipped in under the radar the
fact that the government would now be adopting the Labor Party’s policy. I
congratulate him on that.

Dragged kicking and screaming, the government has
done a spectacular backflip and adopted Labor’s policy by mandating that
central government departments and outer agencies purchase locally manufactured
vehicles. It has taken the government 14 months and the exit of Ford and Holden
for it to follow our lead. I ask the minister why it took so long, when it has
been obvious for so long that the auto industry has been under extreme stress.

The PRESIDENT — Order! Mr Somyurek
has 36 seconds to rephrase his matter in terms of an action. This is not
question time; it is the adjournment. Mr Somyurek
has posed a question to the minister; he has not sought an action. He has 36
seconds in which to frame a request for an action by the minister. The minister
should not simply be asked to respond to a question. The way Mr Somyurek
has put it, this matter ought to have been raised at question time rather than
on the adjournment.

Mr SOMYUREK
– By his actions and through the introduction of this new policy the Assistant
Treasurer, Mr Rich-Phillips, has admitted that when I asked the question, the
percentage of state government purchase of locally manufactured vehicles was
not 98 per cent. At that stage I quoted a 59 per cent figure. What was the
state government’s purchase rate of