South Australia’s manufacturing minister Tom Kenyon has said he has genuine concerns for GM Holden’s future in Australia, as the car maker pushes for further funding to secure an upgrade of its Elizabeth plant.
The Australian reports that Holden is seeking $60 million in government assistance on top of the $275 million package announced in March 2012 to secure $1 billion from Holden in upgrading its Elizabeth plant. The upgrade concerns the car maker’s next-generation release of its Cruze and Commodore.
"This is not some idle threat. This is not some game that they're playing trying to screw more money out of the Government," Kenyon told the ABC.
"This is a genuine commercial position that they are in, forced by all number of factors, including the high dollar and various things around the world."
The March 2012 government subsidies were made up of $215 million from the federal government and $60 million from the SA state government.
Holden has requested that production workers consider pay cuts of up to $200 to help keep the company viable.
Federation of Automotive Vehicle Union’s John Camillo has said workers at Elizabeth, which employs 1,700, are unlikely to accept a pay cut. Like Kenyon, he has also pointed to the seriousness of the situation.
"[Holden has] made it quite clear that no matter what the workers do, if they do not get more support from the government they will not go forward with the Cruze and the Commodore," Camillo told The Australian.
General Motors, Holden’s parent company, will meet in September. Camillo and others, such as component maker TI Automotive, have said that the meeting could decide if Holden stays in Australia.