Australias car industry demise started with the Button Labor plan

Button Labor car plan

Original vehicle

Badge engineered derivative

Ford Falcon (utility) Nissan Ute
Holden Commodore Toyota Lexcen
Nissan Patrol Ford Maverick
Nissan Pintara Ford Corsair
Nissan Pulsar Holden Astra
Toyota Camry Holden Apollo
Toyota Corolla Holden Nova

The Button car plan, also known as the Button plan was the informal name given to the Motor Industry Development Plan. The plan was an Australian federal government initiative, intended to rationalise the Australian motor vehicle industry and transition it to lower levels of protection. Industry consultation had begun in mid 1983 with the scheme announced, after John Button visited Japan to inform the car companies there of the contents of the plan, in mid 1984 with a proposed start date of 1985. The plan took its name from Senator John Button, the federal Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry.

At the time of its inception, Australia’s motor industry was heavily protected by import tariffs, and quantitative restrictions on imports or quotas which protected the assembly of thirteen models by various manufacturers. The Button car plan aimed to reduce this number to six models, with the aim of forcing industry consolidation. The overarching aim of the scheme was to make the motor vehicle industry in Australia more efficient by consolidation of resources, allowing the import tariffs to be gradually reduced. This in turn would theoretically expose the local industry to increased competition from imported products, fostering improvement in local vehicles and creating the basis for a competitive export industry.

The most obvious effect of the plan for the Australian car buyer was the appearance of badge engineered vehicles, where the same basic vehicle was sold by several companies under different names. Other approaches included the Ford Courier and Mazda B-Series utilities utilising Mitsubishi‘s 2.6-litre Astron four-cylinder engine, and a proposal to replace Mitsubishi’s locally built Colt with a rebadged Toyota Corolla. This proposal however, never eventuated.

Holden initially teamed up with Nissan in 1984, where the Nissan Pulsar was sold as the Holden Astra. Later Pulsar and Astra models in Australia used Holden-sourced powertrains. This arrangement dissolved in 1989, and General Motors–Holden’s and Toyota formed United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI). The vehicles produced as a result of this joint venture, the Holden Apollo (Toyota Camry), Holden Nova (Toyota Corolla) and Toyota Lexcen (Holden Commodore) lasted until 1996 for the Holden-badged derivatives models, and 1997 for Lexcen.[1]

This sharing of models proved unpopular with buyers, and original models outsold their badge engineered counterparts.[2] The last of such models, the Toyota Lexcen (Holden Commodore), was dropped in 1997. Rather than share locally assembled models with other manufacturers, Holden, Ford, and Toyota decided to import fully built-up models from subsidiaries elsewhere in the world, mainly Europe and Japan. Mitsubishi Motors did not share models with other manufacturers during the period of the plan and ended Australian manufacturing in 2008; Nissan ended car manufacturing in Australia completely in 1994.


Greens cost the Hunter plenty

Samuel Dariol is one the activists who travelled interstate to disrupt shipping on the Port of Newcastle yesterday. He describes himself as “a social and environmental activist based in Melbourne. He writes, drinks coffee, and tweets”.
Sam was joined on his excellent adventure by Greens luminaries including David Shoebridge, Lee Rhiannon, Richard Di Natale and a motley crew from, Greenpeace and Breakfree. Sounds like just another harmless stunt. Except it wasn’t. Newcastle and the Hunter paid a heavy price for Sam, David, Lee and Richard’s narcissism.
A week ago, the Oceania Cruise line cancelled the visit of its ship Insignia to Newcastle. The vessel carried nearly 700 passengers from north America. About half of its passengers were booked on tours across the Hunter. The tourism industry has calculated the loss to local business to be conservatively$250,000.
Local and state governments, the Hunter Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Newcastle and a number of tourism leaders have been tirelessly building the Newcastle cruise industry
from scratch over the past few years. It took nearly two years to secure a visit from the Oceania line. But Oceania found the risk from Greens activists on the harbour was too great. They have indicated it will be at least a year before another stopover can be contemplated.
None of this matters to the Greens.
Family enterprises looking forward to hard-earned business are collateral damage to the organisers of Breakfree. Many of these businesses are still recovering from the superstorm of April 2015. Tourism and hospitality is identified as an important sector to diversify and strengthen the Hunter economy as it undergoes transformation.
Breakfree and their fellow travellers were asked to protest lawfully and peacefully. There are ample opportunities and sites to protest on the foreshores of the Port of Newcastle. There are limitless means to advocate to put a point of view across in the media. They chose disruption. David, Lee, Sam and Richard went back to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne after the Breakfree stunt.
They’ll quickly be forgotten. The Port of Newcastle went back to its lawful business, but the harm from the Greens’ arrogance will be borne by the workers and small businesses of the Hunter for years to come.

Pre Schools get further funding


Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC today announced families across NSW will benefit from an $8 million funding injection for capital works leading to 500 additional preschool places in areas of high need.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for preschool providers in the Hunter to expand their current services to offer more places resulting in more opportunities for NSW children to receive a quality preschool education,” said Mr MacDonald.

The funding will support community preschools to:
• extend existing preschool buildings;
• build new preschool facilities;
• buy new motor vehicles for existing mobile preschool services; or
• deliver alternative, innovative solutions that create more preschool places.

“We know that some preschools require assistance to meet the demand of their local areas. I encourage all community preschools in the Hunter who have the need for more room to apply.”

Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams said research demonstrates that preschool education puts children on track for both academic and social success in the crucial early years of schooling.

“By funding the construction of new preschools and the expansion of existing services, the NSW Government is making more places available for four and five-year-olds to attend preschool before they make the leap to primary education.”

Preschool services are invited to submit expressions of interest for capital works funding by 20 May 2016. Priority will be given to services demonstrating that additional places would support access for children from Aboriginal and low-income backgrounds.

For more information, visit the Department of Education website at