Discussions over extra assistance to Holden continue

Following news that General Motors Holden is seeking another $60 million in government assistance to keep its Australian operations running, it has been claimed that the funding needed to save Holden would be far greater.

According to The Australian, an insider at Holden has claimed an extra $150 million would merely see the car maker breaking even, and it is seeking an additional $265 million in assistance from the federal, SA and Victorian governments on top of the $275 million already pledged.

"Holden is in a vice and it's tightening," The Australian reports its source as saying, and Holden was using the announced departure of Ford from Australia in 2016 as a bargaining chip to extract more public money.

Shadow federal treasurer Joe Hockey said the Coalition was committed to keeping car manufacturing in Australia but expressed
doubt about whether more funding was worthwhile, saying “there has got to come a time when enough is enough”.

The Australian Financial Review cast doubt over the amount of Holden’s claims, with a spokesperson from Holden telling the newspaper that the account was “purely speculative”.

Newly-returned industry minister Kim Carr was also skeptical about the reports. 

"The reports in the paper this morning are of course not the figures that I've seen, they are reflecting some speculation from some quarters unknown," he told The ABC.