Auto manufacturers body says up to 40,000 jobs could go

The Australian automotive industry has made its way into the federal election campaign, with new figures suggesting the winner will face the problem of up to 40,000 made unemployed.

The Herald Sun reports that the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers has modelled that many jobs lost, and two-thirds of these will be in Victoria. Only 79 of the state’s 134 suppliers have diversified or are in the process of diversifying their operations.

“You can be sure that whatever the impact felt by the community when Ford finishes local car building, the Holden and Toyota closures will be 10 times worse, as their production levels are so much higher,” the organisation’s general manager, Tom Chappell, told The Herald Sun.

“We are calling for Labor and the Coalition to support the automotive components sector, on the basis that it’s good business to do so.”

Ford Australia, Toyota Australia and General Motors Holden will all have shut their car factories by 2018. Ford will shut its Geelong and Broadmeadows plants in October this year, not long after the July 2 federal election.

As reported earlier today, opposition leader Bill Shorten’s campaign includes a $59 million package ($33.1 million of this targeted in Victoria) announced this morning in Geelong, where Ford has its engine, casting and stamping production.