Today’s announcement of a Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme is too little, too late for the tens of thousands of auto and supply chain workers who face an uncertain future.

The program was first announced in December 2013. Almost two years later, the Minister for Industry, Christopher Pyne, has announced just $27.4 million in grants for manufacturing businesses in Victoria.

That is the total funding available for Victorian businesses under the program.

Funding allocated to South Australian businesses has also been exhausted, with only one round announced in August 2015.

In March this year a Senate Estimates Committee received evidence that the program is grossly underfunded, with the Department of Industry receiving 265 submissions seeking a total of $554 million in grant funds, well in excess of the amount available.

While industry looks for certainty and opportunities to diversify, the Abbott/Turnbull Government has grossly misjudged the scale of the impending job losses and the impacts throughout the economy as a result of planned shutdowns in automotive manufacturing.

The Senate Economics Committee’sinquiry into the future of Australia’s automotive industry has received evidence that up to 200,000 jobs will be lost as a result of automotive closures.

Much more needs to be done, particularly in South Australia and Victoria, to mitigate this impending crisis.

Labor will fight to keep high-skilled, high-wage jobs in Australia, and will continue to hold the Liberals to account for their callous disregard for manufacturing workers and their families.

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