The first coalition meeting for the year has been warned of shocks to come as the economy adjusts.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there are more economic shocks to come but Australian business will bounce back.
Mr Abbott’s address to the first joint coalition parties meeting for the year on Tuesday came a day after Toyota announced it would stop car making in 2017 and as fruit and vegetable processor SPC Ardmona considered its future.
He told colleagues in Canberra there had been economic shocks and there would be more to come.
But he said the government would not abandon the truth that “governments don’t create jobs, businesses do”.
He said governments were there to put in place the “muscles and sinews of a strong economy”, not chase businesses down the street with a blank cheque.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing drought assistance for farmers.
Mr Abbott, who will visit drought-hit rural areas in coming weeks, said drought assistance and providing taxpayers’ money to manufacturers were very different issues.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is working on a new drought assistance package to present to cabinet.
The prime minister also took aim at Labor leader Bill Shorten, the former workplace relations minister, saying Mr Shorten’s “mates” in the union movement had used Mr Shorten’s laws to stop Toyota workers giving themselves a better chance of survival.
The prime minister appeared to concede that the carbon tax repeal bills would not pass until the makeup of the Senate changes after July 1.
He told the meeting that the first fortnight in July, when the Australian Greens would lose the balance of power in the upper house, would be one of the signature events of the year.
The other two big events would be the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November and the May budget.
Treasurer Joe Hockey told the meeting Holden and Toyota did not make the decision to close their car-making overnight and that the economy was in a period of transition.
He said every year Australia lost 500,000 jobs but 650,000 were created.
Innovative manufacturers such as Boeing were still prospering, he said.
Three MPs raised the issue of SPC Ardmona, with one telling the meeting of disappointment with the decision not to provide $25 million in assistance.
Mr Abbott said he believed SPC Ardmona would not only survive but flourish.