THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, RESEARCH, INNOVATION & INDUSTRY
THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT & WORKPLACE RELATIONS
GOVERNMENT MUST PLEDGE SUPPORT FOR HOLDEN WORKERS
Today is a devastating day for Holden workers, their families, and thousands more Australians who depend on a strong automotive sector.
The ramifications of this announcement will be felt throughout our economy. We know there will be more bad news to come, and we know more Australians will lose their jobs.
Our hearts are very heavy for these workers and their families, and the communities that depend on these jobs.
The Federal Opposition has repeatedly called on the Abbott Government to provide certainty to Holden and its workers. Their inaction has helped create a situation where an important business believed it could no longer operate in our country.
Workers and their families are the ultimate losers from the Government’s irresponsible game of brinkmanship.
Having succeeded in forcing GM Holden out of Australia, the Abbott Government must now deal with the consequences of its reckless policies.
Some 2,900 Holden workers will now go into Christmas knowing that the Abbott Government has cost them their job.
A further 47,000 workers directly employed in the automotive industry face great uncertainty over their future.
The Abbott Government helped cause this situation.
First, the Government decided to rip out $500 million in government assistance for the automotive industry.
Second, they sought to cover their inaction with a Productivity Commission Inquiry, which won’t report for months.
Then they undertook an extraordinary back-grounding campaign in the media, attacking the company and its workers, including letters designed to be leaked.
And yesterday, the Treasurer dared Holden to leave Australia. He got his way.
This devastating news was preventable. Under Labor this would not have happened.
The Labor Government had come to an agreement with Holden that would have seen them stay in Australia until the middle of the next decade, for less than $150 million a year in government co-investment.
The Abbott Government needs to urgently put forward a comprehensive and detailed plan to help these workers retrain, reskill and transition to new jobs.
It is not good enough to say that the company will look after redundancy payments and that there won’t “necessarily be any extra assistance required from Government”, as Senator Abetz said today.
The Abbott Government has failed Australian manufacturing. They must not be allowed to fail their workers even further.
Today, our Prime Minister has let an Australian icon die.
WEDNESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2013