Helping Holden workers over the line

After Toyota and Ford, the closure of Holden on October 20 marks the end of car manufacturing in Australia.

In the leadup to the gates closing at the Elizabeth carmaking plant, Flinders University Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) is holding a high-level public meeting in Adelaide called ‘Post-Holden South Australia and the future of Manufacturing’.

The final closure is expected to result in the direct loss of 3,000 jobs, mainly in the northern suburbs, with flow-on effects for 500 or so suppliers. Total job losses could involve up to 12,000 jobs in South Australia, with thousands more unemployed interstate with the Toyota and other car plants’ previous closures.

Economic conditions have improved since Holden revealed its plan to close Australian production plans three years ago, says AITI director Professor John Spoehr, who will chair the public forum.

Holden's Adelaide plant will close October 20, signalling an end to Australia's car manufacturing industry.
Holden’s Adelaide plant will close October 20, bringing to an end Australia’s car manufacturing industry.

“However the State is still heading for the largest economic shock we have experienced in the past 20 years,” Professor Spoehr says, stressing the auto supply and component company workers will need support through the transition.

“While efforts to try and reduce the impact of the closure on auto workers are making a difference, the fact remains that thousands of well-paid jobs are being lost, intensifying competition for job vacancies in the State.

“Investments in accelerating industry diversification remain critical, along with generating short-term job opportunities through high levels of public investment in social and physical infrastructure projects.”

Manufacturing continues to be one of the state’s largest industries, involving about 70,000 jobs.

The forum will feature an update by Professor Spoehr on the impact of the closure, followed by perspectives on life after Holden from leaders in the fields of politics, manufacturing, science and innovation.

Presenters include:

Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and a Senator for Victoria. Senator Carr has been a staunch advocate of the automotive industry, arguing that it has long been Australia’s greatest repository of advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Hon Kyam Maher, the SA Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Automotive Transformation and Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation is also Minister for Employment and Minister for Science and Information Economy.

Nick Champion MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Science. He held the seat of Wakefield in South Australia which includes Elizabeth and other suburbs surrounding the Holden factory.

John Camillo, the State Secretary of the AMWU has responsibility for representing automotive workers in South Australia. John is assisting workers through the transition from Holden’s automotive manufacturing into potential new jobs in SA.

A panel discussion will follow the presentations

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