Senate Estimates hears of employment impact of Ford decision

The total impact of the flow-on effects of Ford quitting car-making in Australia are not known, a Senate Estimates committee has been told, and this will take time to calculate.

Ford Australia announced last month that it would cease manufacturing vehicles in this country in October 2016.

Dr Steven Kennedy, the industry department deputy secretary, told the committee that forecasting a specific number would take time to do and would – if detailed results were released – create a lack of confidence among those affected.

"We haven't undertaken any formal economic analysis of Ford's announcement and the wider impact on employment," AAP reports him as saying.

"To call out a particular number (of job losses) that might occur as a result of this foreshadowed October 2016 close would potentially create concerns in those companies that are affected,"

Automotive parts makers are concentrated in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

Following Ford’s announcement last month, Federation of Automotive Parts Manufacturers CEO Richard Reilly called the news “devastating” for the industry.

"This is a dirty great big shock that will leave a big hole,” he told News Limited. “Some companies only supply to Ford and now they have 3 1/2 years to turn that around."

The Senate committee was told of companies "wholly dependent" on Ford, as well as state and federal assistance measures, such as a $51.9 million jobs assistance program.

"The other thing to note is that with the time available before this decision occurs, companies will hopefully continue to work their diversification plans," said Kennedy.