Labor pledges to save auto manufacturing jobs

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten says a Labor Government would spend $59 million on saving manufacturing jobs after Holden, Ford and Toyota cease production in Australia.

Mr Shorten has promised a $17.5 million funding boost to help South Australian manufacturing businesses transition to new work when the Elizabeth Holden factory closes in 2017.

The promise includes support for SA manufacturers to win business constructing naval ships, including the 12 Future Submarines.

Mr Shorten says there would also be money to assist the other states that are home to Australia’s automotive manufacturing workforce of 45,000.

The announcement came after SA Independent Senator Nick Xenophon criticised the federal budget for failing to address the approaching closure of the Australian car industry.

Taking into account associated industries, Senator Xenophon says 200,000 jobs are at risk, mainly in SA and Victoria.

“For a budget that is supposed to be all about jobs and growth, it’s inexcusable that it fails to acknowledge the crisis of manufacturing in this country,” he said.

Accessories manufacturer thriving

ARB Corporation Limited, which designs, manufactures and distributes SUV and light commercial vehicle accessories to over 80 countries around the world, is increasing its labour force and the amount of overtime at its manufacturing facilities in Australia and Thailand.

Shares in the company have risen almost a third in the past year. The February half-year profit announcement shows revenues rose 7.8 per cent and net profits 14.0 per cent.

Exports now make up over 25 per cent of company sales. ARB will continue to grow via an expansion to Dubai to serve the Middle East, adding to its presence in the USA and the Czech Republic.

Considering local SUV sales continue to rise, domestic growth should also remain strong.

Holden back in the black

After two years of significant losses GM Holden is back in the black, with a $128.2 million after-tax profit for 2015.

Employee separation and asset impairment charges associated with the wind-down of local manufacturing were the direct drivers of the previous two years’ losses.

The 2015 financial result includes one-time accounting reversals of $79.7 million in employment entitlements, driven largely by the decision to retain GMH’s powertrain calibration-engineering unit.

Volvo out of Supercars

Volvo recently announced it would withdraw from the V8 Supercars series, while Holden and Nissan are yet to commit beyond 2016.

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