New Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has admitted he is not yet sure about future funding to Holden and has called on the carmaker to be patient.
As AAP reports, the minister toured Holden's Elizabeth plant in Adelaide yesterday with Holden managing director Mike Devereux and said that the government would like to see the Australian automotive manufacturing industry survive for the next 100 years.
At a press conference, Macfarlane said that the government would provide short-term funding to ensure the survival of the industry for the next three years. However, in terms of funding, he made no further assurances.
The government is committed to a review of car industry assistance by the Productivity Commission and to its election policy to cut $500 million from total auto industry assistance.
Macfarlane urged Holden’s parent company, General Motors to be patient and to delay its decision on a $1 billion co-investment in its Australian manufacturing operations until after the release of the Productivity Commission’s report.
According to the SMH, Macfarlane called for politics to be taken out of the decision. ''I know they've got deadlines, I'm doing my best. These guys are all promising me we'll have a frank discussion behind closed doors - there'll be no leaks, there'll be no politics,” he said.
''I've got to have a Productivity Commission report before I hand down the final decision. I will try and do something in the short term just to keep everything going. The long-term plan is to have an auto industry here for a long time.''
He also suggested the government may be prepared to re-open talks with Ford Australia, the company which announced in May that it will cease its Australian manufacturing operations in 2016.
However, Ford Australia's public affairs executive, Sinead Phipps said the company intends to stick to its original decision.