AUSTRALIA: Holden commits as union calls for bi-partisan auto approach
Holden says it is committed to continuing its Australian presence despite Ford's decision to end production in the country, while a major union is calling for both political parties to unite around supporting the automotive sector.
Ford's move will see 1,200 direct jobs disappear in 2016, but the Australian Manufacturers Workers' Union (AMWU) told just-auto this figure could soar to 6,000 once component and ancillary jobs are taken into account.
"Despite Ford's announcement to end local manufacturing, we believe the industry can survive in Australia and has already adjusted in large part given Ford's relatively low production volumes," a statement from Holden said.
"Holden set out a ten-year manufacturing plan agreed with the Australian Government in 2012, based on the economic and market conditions at that time. That plan would see Holden invest a billion dollars in this country [Australia] and secure production of two all-new global vehicles out to 2022.
"The industry needs swift action to make Australia's automotive policy settings clear, consistent and globally competitive as quickly as possible. Holden is working closely with the Australian Government, Federal Coalition and the State Governments, to ensure the viability of the industry in the face of the historically significant economic challenges facing the country."
The AMWU union however, struck a less optimistic note, insisting just after Ford's announcement the country's auto sector was at "crisis point," and urged both political parties in Australia to develop a bi-partisan approach to the sector.
"We are at a crisis point that will need bi-partisan support from both sides of politics to keep our car industry, which is a centre for innovation and skills development vital to our prosperity," said AMWU national secretary, Paul Bastian.
"The car industry is suffering from the high dollar, as well as currency manipulation and trade barriers in other countries."
Ford will cut the 1,200 jobs at the Broadmeadows car assembly and Geelong engine manufacturing and stamping plants in Victoria State.
"All our members at Ford can be assured that that the AMWU leaves no one behind," said Bastian.
"Australia must maintain a car industry if we are to keep the diverse economy we will need when the mining boom is over."