Manufacturing News

Federal assistance announcement for auto industry made

federal government announced an expanded, $155 million automotive assistance
program yesterday, though the opposition has said it goes nowhere near far

Described in a joint statement by prime minister Tony Abbott and industry minister Ian Macfarlane as assisting to “generate the jobs of the future”, the
package sets aside.

– $30 million for a Skills and Training programme;

– $15 million extra for the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment programme;

– $20 million for an Automotive Diversification programme;

– $60 million for a Next Generation Manufacturing Investment; 

and- $30 million for a Regional Infrastructure Programme.

fund, announced in the wake of Holden’s decision to end manufacturing in
Australia in 2017, was originally budgeted $100 million. Since
the original announcement, Toyota has also announced that it will close its
factories in 2017.

The federal government will contribute $100 to program, with the rest planned to come from Victorian and SA governments and car makers.

Abbott’s announcement came after reviews of the two states’ economies.

These found, “significant growth can be expected in sectors like advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture, health and biomedical, mining services, tourism and education” according to the Abbott government. “…[T]he Growth Fund will help local economies take up these opportunities,” 

The Adelaide Advertiser notes that the SA government is yet to agree to participate
in the assistance programs, and would be – in effect – competing with Victoria
for its share of the subsidies. 

“Importantly, we will need confirmation
that this fund will be quarantined for South Australia and Victoria only,’’ SA
industry minister Tom Koutsantonis said.

“We will
also need details as to how funds will be distributed between SA and

said that the Commonwealth would try and ensure an equal share between the two
states, though the applications for the funding would be decided on merit.

“So it is a bit of a competitive process,” he said.

But in the end we will try to ensure that everyone gets a
reasonable share of this $155 million.’’

to the AMWU and the federal opposition, the amount goes nowhere near far enough.

“It’s well and truly short of the mark,” AMWU national secretary Paul Bastian said, according to AAP.

“We think $1.5 billion is needed.”

Kim Carr, shadow industry minister, labelled the amount pathetic.

“The Abbott government has clearly failed to grasp the
deep and complex consequences of the end of automotive manufacturing in Australia,”
he said.

Image: Fairfax

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