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澳大利亚总理霍华德在丰田汽车澳大利亚总部开业典礼上的讲话

2006-07-07 18:12

  Toyota Head Office, Melbourne, 13 July 2004

  JOHN HOWARD:

  Well, thank you very much Eddie, Mr Premier Steve Bracks, Mr Cho and all of your other Toyota colleagues, my ministerial colleagues Nick Minchin and Ian Macfarlane, my other parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

  No economic and commercial and trade association has been more important to Australia over the last 50 or 60 years than the association that we have had with Japan and Japanese companies. And commencing with that visionary commerce agreement that was put together by the then deputy prime minister of Australia John McEwen, a great Victorian who had a great commitment to Australian manufacturing industry as well as Australian rural industries back in 1957, there has been a long and fruitful partnership between our two nations and the business and commercial interests of our two nations. And Toyota is a wonderful example of that relationship and through all the ups and downs of international trade and commerce there has been a constancy and a reliability about the association between Australia and Japan and that is symbolised by the continuing investment and commitment of Toyota to this country over the last 41 years.

  And I would like on behalf of all Australians, Mr President, to express my gratitude to Toyota for having been such a magnificent corporate citizen in Australia. I really do want to express our gratitude for the contribution that your company has made to the motor industry in this country. I can remember having a conversation with John Conomos a few months ago about the ups and downs of the motor vehicle industry in Australia and we reflected on some of the days when it wasn't doing as well as it’s doing now when we seem to be cobbling together different plans, almost a plan a year, and we were trying in different ways to sustain an industry that, let alone thinking about exporting, was thinking about its very survival. But now we appear for a combination of reasons to be living in a golden age of the motor manufacturing industry in this country. The sales are at an all time high; the prosperity of companies like Toyota is remarkable and collectively the industry is making an enormous contribution to the strength and the vitality of the Australian economy. And here in Melbourne, of course, which is very much the manufacturing home and the corporate home of the industry in Australia, the presence is very evident and very strong. And, as the Premier remarked, it's hard to travel around Australia, let alone around Victoria, without being very conscious of the presence and the contribution of this great company.

  There are just two other things that I want to say and that is that no company can succeed without the commitment of its corporate leaders and also, importantly, the contribution of its workforce. And I want in opening these new corporate headquarters to pay tribute to the skill and the adaptability of Toyota's workforce and to the way in which the workforce of Australian manufacturing over the years has changed and adjusted according to changed circumstances.

  The world economy in which Australia now must trade and survive is very different from the world economy of 1963. In 1963, we dwelt behind very high tariff barriers; we had a fixed exchange rate; we had very strong exchange controls; we were a far more cloistered and inward looking economy than we are now and in the years that have gone by great adjustment has been needed and I think the story of those years has been the story not only of corporate leadership in this country, but also the employees of those corporations changing with those changed circumstances. And it is appropriate on an occasion like this to pay tribute to their contribution.

  And the other thing I want to pay tribute to is the spirit of co-operation that's always existed between Toyota and the Government, not only of the Commonwealth but also of the various states. Governments by and large should allow corporations to get on with their business. But it is necessary in industries like the motor industry to have close co-operations because there is the importance of strong industry plans and the level of co-operation that I’ve experienced over the last eight and a half years as Prime Minister with the leadership of Toyota has been quite outstanding. And I want to take this special opportunity of expressing my gratitude to the company for that and for all that it has contributed, long may it remain with its headquarters here in Melbourne, long may it contribute to the future strength and vitality of the Australian economy and may you take back to your colleagues, Mr President, our great thanks and our admiration for the contribution that you have made to the Australian people and to the Australian economy.

  And in that spirit, I have great pleasure in declaring these magnificent new corporate headquarters well and truly open for business.

  Thank you.

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