The federal opposition has accused prime minister of making an inadequate response to “probably the biggest crisis facing manufacturing in our history”, Holden’s decision to close its Australian factories.
As reported yesterday, prime minister Tony Abbott has announced a $100 million plan to assist Victoria and South Australia adjust to the impact of Holden winding up its manufacturing operations and shedding 2,900 jobs by 2018.
$60 million of the amount will be provided by the federal government, with the rest from SA and Victoria – following economic reviews of those states’ economies which will conclude in February – and Holden.
There would also be a ministerial taskforce, which Abbott will chair, looking at issues including commercialisation, innovation, infrastructure and energy affordability.
Shadow federal industry minister Kim Carr said that the announcement provided nowhere near enough help to an industry badly needing it.
“Well, today we have the Government responding to what is probably the biggest crisis facing manufacturing in our history,” he said.
“And what do they give us? A committee. A committee to look at the future of manufacturing.
“Just look at the numbers: they're taking $500 million out of the industry, $215 million out of the investment plan we had. So they're actually putting in only $60 million.”
The announcement came with a firm message that the Abbott government was not in favour of large subsidies to businesses.
“We think Government does have a role,” the ABC reports him as saying.
“The role is not to prop up private business. The role is to help us as a country and as communities explore where our future might best be determined and to add to the general infrastructure, physical and intellectual, through investing in things like roads and, where necessary, railways and in education and in research and development.”
SA premier Jay Weatherill called the package “pathetic”, and Victorian premier Denis Napthine said it was a first step, but additional investment would be “absolutely critical”.