South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has called on the federal government to develop an automotive transition plan to save jobs.
Xenophon would like the government to spend the A$1.3 billion still in the government’s automotive grants fund – the Automotive Transformation Scheme – to assist companies in southern Australia to diversify their businesses into other areas of manufacturing.
“By holding onto this money, and not having a transition plan for the auto sector, the government is pursuing the worst form of false economy. There is no doubt that the direct jobs lost and the multiplier effect of this sector shutting down will be a multi-billion dollar hit to the Australian economy unless there is a Plan B,” Xenophon said.
“The fallout could impact on as many as 150,000 jobs – mainly in SA and Victoria. Unless the government treats this as the jobs emergency it is, there will be deep scars on our nation’s economy and communities for decades to come.”
Industry minister Arthur Sinodinos has previously said that Australians should get use to the fact industries die.
“Once they went through that grieving process they put their heads down and got on with it. I haven’t heard consumers complaining about changes to the car market, there is quite an array of cars for sale,” Sinodinos said.
“We want to build confident and outward-looking Australian businesses that generate jobs and give us more control over our economic destiny.”