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Toyota workers must accept reforms: Government

Editorial
article image Ian Macfarlane believes car manufacturing can be saved with union assistance.

Toyota workers will have to accept changes to their pay and conditions if they want to keep their jobs, according to Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

The ABC reports that the Victorian government held talks on the future of the car industry this week with MacFarlane and Trade Minister Andrew Robb. The Victorian Government asked Canberra for assistance to ensure Toyota commits to manufacturing its Camry in Victoria beyond 2017.

However, MacFarlane told the ABC that the key to the survival of Toyota is the acceptance of reforms by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).

"The reality is that unless we can reduce the cost of producing cars in Australia, then the Toyota workers will not have a job in the long term," he said.

"So what I'm saying to the workers of Toyota is think very carefully about the current situation, with the current reforms that Toyota is trying to put in place," he said.

"If those reforms don't take place then there's a very hight chance that Toyota will not be able to compete and, therefore, the last car manufacturer in Australia will close."

AAP reports that these views were echoed by Treasurer Joe Hockey who went so far as to claim the AMWU is at war with Toyota.

"They are creating the conditions that make it extraordinarily difficult for Toyota to continue producing cars in Australia," he told ABC Radio.

According to the SMH, there are suggestions that Macfarlane is the only member of Cabinet open to the idea of providing more assistance to the car industry. The SMH refers to an unnamed Liberal MP as saying MacFarlane was ''out on a limb'' in comparison to his dry colleagues such as Hockey.

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