Labor has committed to spend $59 million on saving manufacturing jobs in regions affected by motor vehicle production closures.
Yesterday in Geelong opposition Leader Bill Shorten unveiled a $59 million “Manufacturing Transition Boost” jobs package to ensure regions across the nation – including Geelong and Northern Adelaide – continue to have strong workforces and local jobs.
“These regions face the prospect of high unemployment and social dislocation after the Liberals goaded the car industry into closing down and leaving Australia,” Mr Shorten said.
“This jobs package will provide pathways to new jobs for skilled workers by attracting new business investment in advanced manufacturing. Firms will be given new incentives to diversify into new products and markets and employ automotive workers who have lost their jobs.”
Mr Shorten said the end of carmaking in Australia will cripple an entire chain of 160 supply businesses involved in component manufacturing, engineering, design and tooling, resulting in 200,000 lost jobs and a gaping hole in the country’s economy.
“It’s estimated that for every one automotive job, 6.5 jobs are generated in associated supply. Modelling suggests that 200,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of closures in motor vehicle production between now and 2017,” he said.
“The shutdowns will rip $29 billion from the economy – about two per cent of GDP.”
According to him, the “Manufacturing Transition Boost” jobs package would not only revitalise the automotive industry and save thousands of jobs, but would also maintain the stability of Australia’s economy.
“Under the Manufacturing Transition Boost jobs package, funding of $10.5 million will help existing automotive businesses develop and implement plans to plug into new supply chains, bring new products to market and improve productivity. This will benefit firms across the nation including in Victoria and South Australia where the automotive industry is concentrated as well as the 16,000 automotive manufacturing jobs in NSW and Queensland,” Mr Shorten added.
He said that rather than duplicate programs at the State and Federal level, a Labor Federal Government would leverage the work already done by State Governments and supplement existing state programs, both by increasing the resources these programs can draw on and by expanding their scope.
”In Victoria, Labor’s Manufacturing Transition Boost will expand the Victorian Government’s successful Local Industry Fund for Transition (LIFT) program. With location targeted assistance in North Melbourne, South East Melbourne, West Melbourne and Geelong, this boost will back Victorian workers as they transition to new jobs,” the opposition leader said.
“In South Australia, Labor will expand the existing South Australian Government Automotive Supplier Diversification Program (ASDP) through a $15 million investment to expand the program to non-automotive manufacturing businesses in South Australia.”