Macfarlane says manufacturing can survive closure plans

The Australian manufacturing industry is not in crisis and can survive the challenge thrown up by recent announced factory closures, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says.

AAP reports that, referring to the decisions of Alcoa, Ford, Holden, and Toyota to cut manufacturing operations and leave many unemployed, Macfarlane told reporters on Tuesday, “Well it is certainly an enormous challenge but not one we can’t overcome.”

“No one would understate the impact this is going to have on the workers in the auto industry and at Alcoa.

“But it is not a catastrophe, it is an enormous challenge which we can overcome.”

Mr Macfarlane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Victorian Premier Dennis plan to meet today to discuss providing assistance to Alcoa workers.

Mr Macfarlane said that, following the announced closures and expected large loss of jobs to follow, the government wants to stimulate investment in South Australia and Victoria.

Possible responses to the situation include extra infrastructure spending and attempts to attract new industries to the states.

Meanwhile, AAP reports that Mr Abbott has promised an announcement on Victorian jobs in March. This will follow a report on the Victorian economy on February 28.

“We want to ensure the people of Victoria can face the future in confidence,” he said.