Senator Sinodinos has today been caught out cruelly misleading auto workers set to lose their jobs when Holden and Toyota close their production lines later this year, telling them that the Liberals’ Growth Fund is there to help them, when in fact the Growth Fund is unable to help workers or companies.
In Senate Question Time today when asked what the Government was doing to help automotive workers when Holden and Toyota close later this year, the Minister said:
“We’ve had a $155 million Growth Fund, of which $100 million has come from the Federal Government…We are taking this very seriously…There’s a lot going on and a lot more that can be done through existing programs.”
Senate Question Time – 8 February 2017
This echoes previous statements from Senator Sinodinos, following the announcement of Toyota’s closure date:
“The Government has been working closely with Toyota and state governments through the $155 million Growth Fund to ensure workers are being reskilled, supply chain firms are diversifying and regions are adjusting into new areas of the economy.”
Media Release – 1 February 2017
The Turnbull Liberals have consistently talked about their so-called ‘Growth Fund’ but the two major elements of the scheme –the Automotive Diversification Program and the Next Generation Manufacturing Grants Program – have been fully expended, leaving no remaining funding to help component makers diversify.
Even when there was funding available, the Guidelines for the Next Generation Manufacturing Grants Program prevent the vast majority of Tier One suppliers from applying for assistance.
Meanwhile, the $30 million in the scheme set aside for worker retraining is entirely made up of contributions from Holden and Toyota, not the Commonwealth.
The fact is that the Minister’s referral to the Growth Fund is an empty and desperate, a clear indication of a Minister who is not across his brief and is willing to give Australians false hope and the wrong information.
The truth is that the Liberals have goaded the manufacturers into leaving Australia, then 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.