MacFarlane begins talks on Holden package

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane began talks with industry groups in Melbourne on Wednesday about how to spend the promised $100 million assistance package for Holden workers who will lose their jobs in 2017.

AAP reports that this is the first of two planned forums on the issue. The second will take place in Adelaide on February 5. The Victorian review will focus on Geelong.

Macfarlane said that there is a need for those companies currently operating in the auto sector to “…move from traditional heavy-industrial manufacturing towards higher-value-add production.”

It would appear that Macfarlane will conduct the two forums without reference to South Australia’s wished-for assistance package.

Earlier this week, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill unveiled a plan that would involve $333 million worth of assistance from the federal government and a further $60 million from South Australia.

As the ABC reports, the departure of Holden by the end of 2017 is forecast to slow growth in employment, household income and property prices; and reduce income by $14 million. It could increase unemployment by about 6,100 over two years.

South Australian Government modelling has shown that the state budget has taken a $376 million hit since the Government handed down its mid-year review last month and the deficit is now expected to be more than $1 billion.

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