Australian unions have waded into the debate surrounding speculation General Motors' Holden division could end manufacturing in the country.

Holden chief, Mike Devereux, is reported to have appeared before the country's Productivity Commission this morning (10 December), to discuss the situation, but the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) is calling on Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to step in and "control" rumours surrounding the automaker.

"There are too many jobs at risk, the prime minister has to step in," said AMWU national secretary, Paul Bastian. "Holden has warned consistently without certainty of co-investment, they [can] not continue manufacturing in Australia beyond 2016. 
 
"This industry is critical to Australia's manufacturing sector, and tens of thousands of people's lives. If we lose it, we're looking at a A$21bn (US$19bn) hole in the economy.
 
"The government has been playing a game of leading Holden on and saying that they will cut co-investment, after the review by the Productivity Commission."

The AMWU is also calling on the federal government to take "immediate steps" to support Australia's automotive industry and send a "clear message to Holden" co-investment would be forthcoming if the company commits to Australia.

The auto industry in Australia has depended on government support for years due to soaring costs, a strong Australian dollar, cheap imports and weak exports.

Neither Holden nor the Productivity Commission in Australia were immediately available for comment, but the automaker earlier denied it would stop making cars in the country.