- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Damned Fools

Now this is just stupid. What are they going to do next, fund the TV networks because they winge that automobile makers are not advertising any more? Oh yea, they already did that with the FIVE BILLION DOLLARS they gave to the automobile manufacturers - foreign owned ones at that.

Car dealers to get $2bn Government lifeline - 3 hours ago
By staff writers THE Government has struck a $2 billion deal to prevent the financial collapse of the car sales industry. Car dealers facing closure as a result of the global financial crisis will now be underwritten by a Government debt guarantee, ...
Car dealers get a $2b bail-out Sydney Morning Herald
Car dealers welcome $2b lifeline Ninemsn
Forbes - ABC Online - - Adelaidenow
all 47 news articles »

The Australian government seems convinced that it needs to support the automobile industry in order to maintain the capability to build vehicles in Australia at all. They are probably right. Australia is a small market and it costs money to maintain such large factories there. But why spend 5 billion dollars supporting a foreign owned auto industry in the country, and then another two billion supporting foreign owned dealers? Chances are probably quite high that a lot of this will flow out of the country - or at the very least it will save head office from having to support them themselves.

No - if the goal of the federal government really was to support and maintain a local auto industry, why on earth did they not wait until these companies - Ford and GM primarily, announce they are going to pull out, as they probably would have to without local Australian government support, and THEN step in with a local buyer, pick up the assets at or below replacement cost and Bob's your uncle, you have a locally owned industry - albeit smaller scale than it was before for obvious reasons.

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