Gillard Got Holden’s Back


While Australia’s manufacturing and employment sector are in a turmoil over Holden’s plans to slash 100 jobs in South Australia, the federal government has vowed to help Holden however it can.

The car manufacturer’s announcement came after declining sales in the US and Middle East have hurt production volumes. As a result of changed shift arrangements at the Elizabeth plant, which will come into effect May this year, about 100 casual and temporary positions will be slashed.

On the other hand, the federal government is in talks with Holden about its operations in Australia beyond 2015.  Industry Minister Kim Carr said the company had gone to great lengths in the past to keep its skilled workforce intact.

Senator Carr also expressed the government’s resolution to assist Holden in whatever way it could, and called on the opposition to do the same.

The coalition has flagged a $500 million cut to the $3.4 billion automotive transformation scheme, which subsidises car makers to retool their plants until 2020.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said cars would continue to be made in Australia as long as Labor was in government.

“I am determined and Labor is determined that while ever Labor is here, we will be making cars in Australia,” she told reporters at a Boeing Aerostructures plant in Port Melbourne.

Holden Managing Director Mike Devereux said both sides of politics were aware the international car industry was subsidised by governments.

The cuts at Holden come as Westpac announced 500 Australia jobs would be slashed.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherhill said the state government had been told in December that job losses were on the cards at Holden and argued against them. The SA government would do what it could to safeguard the jobs at Elizabeth and the total 8,000 jobs in the car-making industry, he said.

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