Today, Toyota Australia announced that 3 October 2017 will be the final day of vehicle production at its Altona plant in Victoria.
Labor’s thoughts are with workers at Toyota, their families and communities, as well as the hundreds of supply chain companies that rely on vehicle production for work.
Today is a dark day for Australian automotive jobs.
Though not unexpected, that doesn't make the significance and the heartache any less painful.
Motor vehicle production in Australia did not have to come to an end like this.
We are losing the cornerstone of our advanced manufacturing capabilities in this country because of the actions of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.
Of that, there can be no doubt.
The end of motor vehicle production was not inevitable.
These closures did not have to happen.
Toyota is only closing because the Coalition Government treated the last remaining motor vehicle producers and their workforces with open contempt and hostility.
When Holden announced it would cease manufacturing, Toyota was forced to make this hard decision because without at least two car makers there would not be a big enough domestic supply chain.
What makes this sad reality all the more galling is that the Turnbull Liberals have failed to provide any meaningful support for workers and component makers.
The Turnbull Liberals talk about their so-called ‘Growth Fund’ but this has no remaining funding for highly skilled component makers to diversify, and any money in the fund for automotive workers was provided by Holden and Toyota, not the Commonwealth.
The truth is that the Liberals have done remarkably little to support the hundreds of thousands of workers who are affected by these closures.
Worse, they have actively participated in the demise of an entire industry that employs approximately 50,000 people directly, and up to 200,000 people indirectly across Australia.
Despite laying the groundwork for this economic catastrophe, the Liberals have still not produced any plan for jobs.
Labor calls on Malcolm Turnbull to break his silence on Australian jobs and to start standing up for manufacturing in this country.