Vic government launches $46.5 m auto package, urges Commonwealth to extend ATS

The Victorian government has launched a $46.5 million transition plan for workers and communities affected by the end of car assembly.

Fairfax reports that the plan includes one-off payments of $7,000 to employers who take on retrenched automotive sector staff, as well as a $5 million fund to assist suppliers to diversify.

According to The Geelong Advertiser, the $7,000 hiring incentive will also apply to those employing ex-Alcoa Point Henry workers.

State industry minister Lily D’Ambrosio urged the federal government to extend the Automotive Transition Scheme beyond 2017, the point at which it will reach its “natural conclusion”.

"They are just going to let the ATS wither on the vine,” D’Ambrosion told Fairfax at the launch, held at Bosch’s Clayton site.

"It is not fit for purpose and they have refused to alter it."

Ford will close its factories in October next year, with Holden and Toyota scheduled to end production in 2017.

According to a statement from D’Ambrosio’s office, the package includes:  

·         a $5 million Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program to help businesses identify and capture new opportunities in other markets

·         a $33 million Local Industry Fund for Transition to support communities hit hard by the departure of Ford, Holden and Toyota

·         $8.4 million to strengthen skills, training and job search support in Melbourne's South-East

·         p to $7,000 incentive payments for businesses employing retrenched automotive workers, with up to an additional $4000 for employees who provide workers hired under the scheme with accredited training