Tas government’s $3 million response to Caterpillar’s Burnie sackings

The
Tasmanian government has allocated $3 million in its upcoming budget to assist
the North West region adjust to the departure of Caterpillar’s manufacturing
operations.

The Advocate reports that premier Will Hodgmann said he wanted to ensure advanced
manufacturing continued in Burnie and the region.

“The $3 million in State Budget funding will be
used to financially underpin the recommendations of the Transition Taskforce,”
said the premier.

The
way the money is spent will depend on the recommendations of the Caterpillar Transition Taskforce, chaired by deputy premier Jeremy
Rockliff. It will meet for the second time today, following an Advanced Manufacturing Summit in Burnie yesterday.

“The Transition Taskforce has been working to
develop a blue-print to seek out new opportunities for the sector and develop
partnerships that promote expertise and innovation,” said Rockliff.

Professor
Goran Roos said Tasmania’s had to seek new markets, with potential existing
in areas like patrol boats for Defence.

“The
opportunities are enormous, that’s not the problem,” the ABC reports him as saying.

“The problem
is, have you taken the decision to know where we’re going and that everybody
understands that this is something they have to do as a company for themselves?”

Mining
supplier Caterpillar announced last month that it would be making 280 redundancies at its Burnie plant, with manufacturing shifting to Rayong,
Thailand, and about 120 jobs remaining.

AAP reports that Burnie has Australia’s worst youth unemployment figures, about 21
per cent in May.


Image: News Corp