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Holden reportedly preparing to leave Australia


Holden is reported to be planning to leave Australia, with or without extra government support - which prime minister Tony Abbott ruled out this morning.

Last night the ABC reported that senior figures in the Coalition government were told by the car maker that it was planning to announce this week that it would wind up its Australian manufacturing operations.

When asked, industry minister Ian Macfarlane denied that Holden told him it would leave.

Today The Australian also reports that the South Australian government and opposition had been briefed by Holden about its departure, and that the announcement was only hours before being made when the company reconsidered.

This morning Abbott told 3AW that Holden owes it to its workers to say whether or not it would stay, and ruled out any additional assistance being offered.

''I do wish Holden would clarify their intention because at the moment they have got everyone on tenterhooks,'' said Abbott.

''Ever since the first car rolled off the line in 1949 there have been pots and pots of money available to the car industry in this country,'' he said.

''We stand ready to make that support available. But there's not going to be any extra money over and above the generous support the taxpayers have been giving the motor industry for a long time.''

Shadow industry minister Kim Carr said that extra money should be made available, rather than waiting for a Productivity Commission inquiry to deliver its final report in March next year.

"There is an urgency about this. We can't wait to March. There needs to be a serious intervention by the Prime Minister," he told the ABC.

"I frankly cannot understand why they have not had a delegation to Detroit by now to discuss these questions with the global leadership of General Motors.

"What we are looking at is this Government's indolence leading to a situation where we are seeing the collapse of the Australian automotive industry."

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