Shorten Says Abbott Plays Politics As Australian Jobs Are Lost

Tony Abbott has been playing political stunts whilst presiding over the death of the Australian car industry, says the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten.

Shorten

Responding to the announcement of Toyota’s intention to close its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017, Shorten said it was “a very sad day” for Toyota workers and their families.

News of the Toyota decision coincided with the government’s announcement of a royal commission into union corruption. Shorten said: “While Tony Abbott was playing his political stunts today, two and a half thousand workers lost their jobs.” [Read more…]


Australian Car Industry Dies: Toyota To End Local Production By End Of 2017

Toyota has announced that it will end vehicle and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017.

The announcement marks the formal death of the Australian car manufacturing industry. A product of post-war economic development, the automotive industry at its peak included manufacturing plants operated by General Motors Holden, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Toyota says “various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and a strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts of a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision”. [Read more…]


Weatherill: Government Response To Holden Closure Pathetic

The South Australian Labor Premier, Jay Weatherill, says the federal government’s response to the Holden closure is pathetic.

Weatherill

Speaking at a press conference today, Weatherill said the package announced today by Prime Minister Tony Abbott was “manifestly inadequate. [Read more…]


Abbott Offers $100 Million Employment Fund For Car Workers

In the aftermath of the announced departures of Ford and Holden, Prime Minister Tony Abbott today announced a $100 million employment fund for Victoria and South Australia.

Abbott

Details of the assistance package won’t be decided until the second half of 2014 but Abbott said the money would be spent on “economically responsible” projects.

The federal government will provide $60 million whilst Victoria and South Australia will each contribute $12 million. Holden will be asked to provide $20 million. [Read more…]


Abbott And Shorten Clash Over Holden Closure In Terse Parliamentary Exchange

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have made parliamentary statements on the Holden closure that led to terse exchanges in the House of Representatives tonight.

Abbott [Read more…]


GMH To Close Australian Manufacturing Operations In 2017: Official

General Motors has announced that it will discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, bringing to an end 60 years of making the iconic Holden car.

HoldenThe official announcement from General Motors says it will “transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand”.

The decision will affect approximately 2,900 positions over the next four years, 1,600 in South Australia and 1,300 in Victoria.

The announcement cited the value of the Australian dollar as a chief reason for the decision. “The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier.”

News of the General Motors decision was announced by the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, during Question Time. In Federal Parliament, the Opposition moved a motion criticising the government over the loss of jobs.

Treasurer Joe Hockey accused the Opposition of confected outrage and hypocrisy over Holden’s decision. He said global car manufacturers were moving operations to locations where production costs are cheaper. He pointed out that former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who as Treasurer floated the dollar in 1983, is to address the Labor Caucus tomorrow.

In Parliament yesterday, Hockey made a spirited demand that Holden announce its intentions. His remarks received front page treatment today, as shown below.

Text of a statement from General Motors.

GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand

Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017

GMDETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017. [Read more…]


Car Industry Report Predicts Economic Devastation If Government Assistance Ends

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has released a report on the car industry.

The report, prepared by the Allen Consulting Group, is titled: The strategic role of the Australian Automotive Manufacturing Industry.

The report argues that Australia’s GDP would be $7.3 billion smaller (in today’s dollars) by 2018 without autmotive manufacturing. It says billions in foreign direct investment would cease and the economies of Adelaide and Melbourne “would be devastated” if government assistance to the industry ceased. The report says employment would fall by around 1.5%.

The car industry receives around $500 million in government funding each year. The report says: “For this investment, the Australian economy is $21.5 billion larger.”

The report comes as the Abbott government faces a decision about the continuation of government assistance to the car industry. Politically, the timing of the decision is awkward because of the South Australian election next March and the Victorian election at the end of 2014.

The government’s decision will also be a test of its economic decision-making and its commitment to market principles.

Extract from “The strategic role of the Australian Automotive Manufacturing Industry”, p55. [Read more…]