Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King criticised the Abbott Government’s announcement of $100 million for a growth fund, saying the package falls well short of what’s required to support local workers employed in automotive supply chains.
“Reports have revealed that the consequences of the Abbott Government’s $500 million cut in assistance for the automotive industry are substantial, cutting $7.3 billion from Australia’s GDP by 2018 and the economy would be $21.5 billion smaller,” Ms King said.
“Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey were determined to goad Holden out of Australia last December and as a direct consequence Toyota were soon to follow.
“Australia’s car makers directly employ thousands of people – indirect employment through their supply chains results in many more thousands of jobs – many of which are in regional Victoria.
“Local businesses in the Ballarat region make metal pressings and assemblies, disk brake pads, seatbelts, exhausts, and automotive electrical harnesses.
“When you consider the economic impacts, particularly in the economies of Victoria and South Australia and the flow through effects into our local economy, it gives you some perspective that this package falls well short of what is needed.
“None of this was inevitable either but a direct consequence of the Abbott Government’s decision to abandon the car industry and abandon manufacturing jobs.
“It’s taken the Abbott Government over four months to offer nothing more than a Band-Aid solution with workers in the Ballarat region unlikely to receive any direct support from the fund.
“Once again, I call on the government to deliver a structural adjustment package with targeted support for the component makers and the workers in our region.
“Anything less, and our local manufacturing workers will have every right to feel betrayed as a result.”