Peter Costello


Launch of the 30,000th Kenworth Truck Manufactured In Australia



11.20 AM

…this truck to Phil Baressi, the Federal Member for Deakin to Tony Smith, the Federal Member for Casey to David Hodges, the Mayor of the Shire Ranges. Can I say first of all to you Andrew, can I compliment you on having your company’s colours in red and black. Because as a Carlton supporter it is very generous of you to acknowledge the huge thrashing you had at the football yesterday.

To the employees, you cannot make trucks like this without skilled employees. People who are proud of their work, designers who are state of the art, team leaders who encourage co-operation and the people that actually put these things together. To look at the product of your handiwork, to see that magnificent truck there is something that I know makes you proud and it makes all Australians proud. To see Australia engaging in state of the art manufacture. And I want to congratulate each and every one of you for the commitment that you have to this product.

Our country is a big country. Its major population centres are a long way from each other. And the transport industry is a very big part of Australia’s economy. More than 160,000 people in Australia are employed directly in the industry. About 1.6 billion tonnes of freight are moved by road. That represents about 72 per cent of all of Australia’s freight. Trucks provide nearly all urban freight transport and are the only source of transport in most country areas.

The Australian Trucking Association that Ross has been president of produced a report in 2004 saying that real road freight rates have halved in Australia over the past 35 years. Half. Fuel efficiency has improved dramatically. We are now taking 14.9 tonne kilometres per litre, compared to only 9 in 1979. As the efficiency of the product of companies like Kenworth that are now giving greater value for money on improved environmental outcomes. That shows the value of technology. And when we reduce the cost of transport we bring down prices. We bring down prices for every Australian consumer. Every Australian consumer receives some of their goods or services in their supermarkets or in their shops which have been transported by road at some point.

And of course I cannot let the opportunity go without pointing out that since we abolished wholesale sales tax and replaced it with GST, the price of trucks fell by 8.3 per cent as a result of tax changes in Australia. New truck sales have been at consecutive records for the last 3 years in a row in Australia. That is a modernisation of the plant, it is a modernisation of industry, it is an improved environmental outcome, it is a lower cost, it is delivering improved living standards to the people of Australia. And it is employing increased engineering, as you can see at this magnificent Kenworth plant.

Can I say to you Andrew, with my tour today to see this state of the art facility, to see how highly impressive it is, to see the way in which you are tailoring different trucks to different clients and to see it all being done here in Bayswater. The industrial hub of Melbourne, which is the industrial hub of Australia.

Now, the great thing about that truck, Ross, is it has a great horn. I have already blown your horn on that truck on a few occasions. We met in Roma, Roma for those Victorians amongst you is a great saleyard in outback Queensland where they bring the cattle down from all of the stations and they put them up for sale. I was given the pleasure one day of auctioning some of that cattle and Ross said to me that I should never leave my day job.

So, here are the keys, the keys to the kingdom as it were, the Kenworth T650, the 30,000th Kenworth truck. A great success story for Australian employees, management and investment and I want to say congratulations to everybody that is associated as I hand over the keys to the 30,000th Australian Kenworth truck.

13 Aug 2005

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