GM Holden announced that 20 October 2017 will be the final day of production for motor vehicles in Australia.
While this news was not unexpected, it is still devastating.
Devastating for the workers at Holden, their families and their communities. Devastating for supply chain companies nationwide and the tens of thousands of people they employ who rely on Australian motor vehicle production for their livelihoods.
Labor's thoughts are with the workers, their families and the supply chain at this difficult time.
The saddest part of this sorry chapter in Australian history is that the end of motor vehicle production was not inevitable.
Holden is leaving because the Government treated them with open contempt and hostility. Toyota followed because without at least two car makers there would not be a big enough domestic supply chain.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government has laid the groundwork for an economic catastrophe by goading Australia’s two remaining car manufacturers to cease motor vehicle production at the end of 2017.
It will cost the Commonwealth more in social security payments than it would ever have cost to retain the industry and maintain legislated government co-investment through the Automotive Transformation Scheme.
Approximately 50,000 people are employed by car manufacturers and component makers, and up to 200,000 jobs across Australia are in businesses at risk from the closures.
It is a gut-wrenching blow to our national manufacturing capabilities and jobs.
The responsibility lies firmly with the Liberal Government for their reckless disregard for automotive manufacturing, their disastrous policies and cuts to industry assistance, and now their flagrant disregard for the plight of the workers.
The Government must do more to support auto manufacturing businesses in transition and ensure retrenched workers are given every support possible to secure new jobs.
The Turnbull Government made the decision to add more people to the unemployment lines, so they must do the work to ensure they can quickly find new, full time jobs.
It’s clear this government doesn’t have a plan for auto and component manufacturing workers who may end up in the same position as the thousands of other workers facing unemployment today.
Despite the closures, the automotive industry remains Australia’s great repository of skills and capabilities in advanced manufacturing – it is a powerhouse of innovation, research and development, and engineering and design talent.
These capabilities must be retained to attract new investment that provides decent, well-paid jobs.
That can only happen if there is the political will to make it happen.