Some of Australia’s best jobs will be cut thanks to the refusal of the Abbott government to help Holden retain its engineering capacity.
CEO of Association of Professional Engineers Australia, Chris Walton, said the Abbott Government had provoked Holden all this week who today announced they would “significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017”.
“This isn't just a crisis in manufacturing, it's a crisis in engineering,” Mr Walton said.
“Without a manufacturing base hundreds and hundreds of engineering jobs are likely to be cut both in Victoria and South Australia.
“Instead of taunting Holden in parliament this week, Abbott and Hockey should have acted like adults and saved these highly skilled jobs.
“The future of any kind of significant automotive engineering capacity is now in grave doubt.”
Professionals Engineers Australia said instead of provoking Holden this week they should have gotten back around the negotiating table to save the industry and the highly skilled engineering jobs that are an integral part of it.
“We’re devastated for our members first and foremost, but also for our country. This is a shocking day for our economy, and the impacts will be felt far and wide for decades to come,” Mr Walton said.
“Our engineering members are among the most highly respected automotive engineers in the world. The Abbott Government has failed them.
“We call on both the Federal and State governments to develop a plan to retain Australia's ability to design and engineer automotive products. If we can't design and build cars, we also lose a significant part of our defence capability if Australia was ever again faced with a serious conflict.
“When it comes to understanding and developing industry – the Abbott Government needs to lose the L Plates. Make no mistake, the Abbott Government will always be remembered for being asleep at the wheel and potentially letting the economy crash into recession.”
Mr Walton said if 40,000 direct automotive jobs disappeared in Australia, the Newstart Allowances alone for a year would amount to more than $500 million needed to save these workers' jobs.
He said it was critical to Australia’s future to maintain a robust, diverse economy for the long term, yet we now face the end of value-added manufacturing in Australia.
He said urgent action was needed to ensure that there was not a brain drain of engineers from Australia.
“The automotive sector – at the apex of the manufacturing sector – drives innovation, research and development and high-skill jobs. Without those jobs, highly skilled engineers and technicians will have no choice but to go overseas,” Mr Walton said.
What the closure of Australia’s automotive industry means – in facts:
1. Australia will forego $127 billion of GDP, for more than 36,000 businesses. This will result in Adelaide's economy going backwards by almost one per cent and Melbourne's going backwards by 1.4 per cent compared to forecasts.
2. Australia will forego $3.5 billion of exports every year.
3. More than 50,000 direct jobs and many, many more indirect jobs will be lost.
4. These Australian employees will forgo $17 billion of wages.
5. It will cost the Commonwealth and State Governments millions of dollars of welfare payments and re-skilling assistance if the automotive sector closes.
6. It will also cost the Commonwealth and State Governments millions of dollars of revenue if the automotive industry closes, through reduced company tax receipts, payroll tax and land tax receipts.
7. Australia will have no independent ability to design or produce military or transport vehicles should we again be engaged in a major conflict, and little chance of re-building this capacity. If you don't believe me just have a look at how many former automotive engineers are now working to build military assets like the Bushmaster.
8. The industry is an important source of on the job engineering training to Australia's graduate and younger engineers that would be lost forever.
9. About $480 million of research and development is invested in the automotive sector and many of these innovations flow on to other sectors, including mining.
10. Automotive engineers have one of the best jobs in the world. Right now, in every Australian school thousands of kids wonder what it might be like to design cars.
11. Australia will be a less diverse economy, relying even more on our mining, education, financial services and agriculture sectors.
12. The reality is that most industries receive some sort of government support.
13. Given our automotive industry has taken many decades to develop, it is unlikely Australia would regain its ability to design, engineer and build cars ever again.
For more information contact Matt Nurse on 0407 351 277 or Fiona Simpson on 0408 567 581