Ford has announced it will start cutting 300 car manufacturing jobs in June and sparked fears that it may stop its Australian manufacturing operations before its planned date of 2016.
AAP reports that workers from Ford's Broadmeadows and Geelong car plants will lose their jobs, the exact numbers from each plant are not yet known.
As The Motor Report says, the company made the decision because of flagging sales. Specifically, only 461 Ford Falcons were sold in January this year compared with January last year. And sales of the Ford Territory for January dropped by 41.3 per cent (down to 681 units).
The ABC reports that the decision prompted Geelong Labor MP Richard Marles to call on the company to clarify its intentions regarding its Australian manufacturing operations.
"We are in a critical moment in Australia's manufacturing history," he told the ABC.
"We have a government which is utterly indifferent to the future of manufacturing in Australia today.
"This is a very significant moment in time and voices need to be heard now."
The decision will also affect car components manufacturers. According to Richard Reilly from the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers, many companies in the supply chain are trying to find new work overseas.
He says component makers need the underlying revenue they get from the major carmakers before they can diversify.
Speaking at a press conference, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that the Australian manufacturing industry remains viable but that the Government has given up on it.
"It seems to me the Abbott government has thrown up its arms and given up fighting for Aussie jobs," he said.
"I know that we can't keep every job here, I live in the real world, but what I don't accept is the government of Australia saying 'we're not even going to try fighting for Australian jobs and Australian manufacturing."