Australia’s automotive industry has reportedly been ‘secured’ until 2016, with Ford and the Victorian and Australian governments guaranteeing $103 million and 300 new jobs for production of Ford’s Falcon and Territory SUV at its Broadmeadows facility.
The commitment is said to be the result of talks between Manufacturing Minister Senator Kim Carr and Ford in the US, about securing more funding for their local operations, he said in an interview with ABC News Radio yesterday. Senator Carr also spoke with General Motors about funding for Australia’s Holden operations while he was over there.
Our automotive manufacturing sector’s volatility has been a hot topic in national press this week, due to rumours that Ford’s Falcon would no longer be produced in Australia, resulting in thousands of job losses in Victoria.
Senator Carr is confident both Ford and General Motors are committed to car manufacturing in Australia, and claims to have secured our car-making industry until at least 2016.
“Well we’ve been fortunate to be able to meet with the global leaderships of both the – of Ford and with General Motors who have indicated ongoing commitment to Australia. And we’re now in the process of developing the investment plans that are necessary for – to ensure the new jobs that are needed into the future,” he told ABC News Radio.
“But today, we’re announcing $103 million upgrade for the Ford Falcon and the Territory, and as a consequence of that we are looking to 2016, which is the longest line we’ve seen in regard to Ford about their future investment plans in Australia, and it means it secures the future of Broadmeadows, it secures the future in terms of our R and D centre at Broadmeadows, and we’re acquiring 300 people to be able to want to take that work.”
Australia’s largest manufacturing union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), said yesterday was a “good day for workers” in the company’s Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, as they now have job security for another four years.
“This is something on which we have been campaigning vigorously for some time now and we welcome the efforts of the Gillard government in helping to bring this investment about,” said AMWU acting national secretary, Mike Nicolaides.
"This decision is welcome as it will provide ongoing job security for the foreseeable future, and will create 300 new jobs.
"Manufacturing is one of Australia’s most important industries. The benefits of this investment will flow through to working families and the community.
“This announcement will also be of great importance to Ford’s suppliers throughout Victoria and Australia who employ thousands of other Australians in the Manufacturing industry.”
Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the co-investment announced today represents a renewed commitment by Ford and our local governments to continue production in Australia.
"It is an approach that will be warmly welcomed by the many local small and medium-sized businesses in the automotive supply chain," Ridout said.
"The automotive industry plays a very important role in product and process innovation, workforce and management training in the Australian manufacturing sector. These contributions have broad regional and national benefits both in the Australian manufacturing industry and across the broader economy.
"The commitments announced today will assist in filling the void created by the sudden withdrawal of the Green Car Innovation Fund last January."