Tas Government releases details of response to Caterpillar sackings

The Tasmanian government has outlined details of its $3 million plan to deal with the departure of Caterpillar’s manufacturing operations and assist the economy of the state’s North West.

Caterpillar announced in April that it would cut around 280 jobs at its Burnie factory and move some of its production to Thailand. All manufacturing jobs at the site will be lost but about 120 jobs in design, R&D and distribution will be retained.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff (pictured) said in a statement its plan will include an Advanced Manufacturing Transition Fund which will provide up to $2 million to encourage private investment and fast-track job-creation projects in the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

The Government will also establish a Small Business Loan Guarantee scheme valued at $500,000 which will be run by the TDR Board and funded through its existing loan book. It will aim to help small businesses overcome barriers to investing in their business and to create more local jobs.

And thirdly, Rockliff said he will lead a Trade Mission to Caterpillar’s facility at Rayong, Thailand in October.

The delegation, which will include top tier suppliers to Caterpillar Burnie and Caterpillar Global, will aim to open future advanced manufacturing opportunities with the company.

According to the ABC, Rockliff declined to say how many jobs he hoped the assistance package would create.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green claimed the Government had wasted an opportunity and that, if it wanted to create jobs, it should have invested in long-term projects such as transport upgrades.