‘I don’t know why we can’t have a good discussion’: Vacuum cleaner manufacturers ‘reluctant’ to talk about their products
The vacuum cleaner industry is facing pressure to make its products more affordable, while manufacturers have expressed concerns about the impact of climate change.
In an open letter to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), a group of industry representatives has said it is “deeply concerned” that Australia has been left behind by the rest of the world in the battle against climate change and that there is no evidence that cheaper products will benefit the public.
The AMWU’s letter said the industry has faced an “unprecedented level of scrutiny” from government agencies, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and has been “pushed to the breaking point” by the Australian government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented climate crisis, and the government is using every tool at its disposal to drive down prices,” said the letter, which was signed by several of the country’s largest brands including GAP, Belkin and the Bausch &gitts Group.
“Our industry has suffered from this in the past, and has to fight on, but we know that if we work together, we can help bring an end to this crisis.”
The letter says the industry faces “extreme pressure” to reduce emissions, and there are now “serious questions” as to whether the government’s plans to increase carbon pricing and reduce subsidies for low-carbon industries are “in line with what’s best for Australia”.
“Our business models depend on our ability to innovate and adapt to changes in climate,” the letter states.
“These challenges are not going away, and we need to remain committed to working towards solutions that can ensure that the climate is saved.”
The Australian Manufacturing Worker Union has been a vocal critic of the government, with some members warning the industry could lose jobs if it does not respond to the letter.
The letter also criticises the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which is expected to announce plans to cap carbon emissions at 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The government is expected this month to announce the $11.7 billion National Renewable Heat Incentive (NREL) for the electricity sector, which is set to be the largest incentive package for the sector since the 1970s.
The WA Liberal Government is also considering an increase in the state’s renewable energy target, which would see the state generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, but is expected only to be used in emergencies.
The union’s letter follows similar ones from several other industries.
The Australian Consumer Council said on Tuesday it is concerned that “more than 90 per cent” of the consumer data from Australian retailers has been leaked by companies.
“The data breach of the AMWUs survey revealed that most retailers do not protect customer data,” a spokesperson said.
“It has been revealed that retailers have been accessing customer data from over 2,000 retailers and that many of them are not required to protect it.”
The report found that the largest retailer, Coles, was the biggest offender, with over 1,200 breaches, followed by the Woolworths group, followed closely by Aldi and Walmart.