Holden engineers have expressed their anger at the Victorian Government’s failure to “do anything” to retain their capability.
The first automotive engineers made redundant as part of the iconic car-maker’s closure will finish today, with 200 in the engineering section to lose their jobs by Christmas and another 400 set to go in 2017.
Professional Australia’s CEO Chris Walton said the loss of these highly-skilled jobs was an “absolute tragedy”, both for the professionals involved, and the future of advanced manufacturing in Victoria.
Mr Walton said that this was “a sad day”, but that engineers’ anger was focused firmly on the Victorian Government, who they believed had “done absolutely nothing”.
“This Government has failed these engineers, it has failed Victoria. Losing these highly-skilled jobs never needed to happen. Victorians should be furious at what this Government has let slip through their fingers.
“These engineers can’t believe this Government’s lack of foresight. Melbourne has been a highly-skilled, global automotive engineering hub for a long time. The rest of the world gets it, but this Government hasn’t done a single thing to save it.
“The irony of the Government’s election promises on jobs and advanced manufacturing is not lost on these engineers. They know the truth, when they needed their Government to fight for their jobs, the Napthine Government was missing, nowhere to be seen.
“These engineers would often ask me: Why isn’t someone from the Government going to Detroit? Why aren’t they lobbying the company? Why isn’t the Government coming up with a plan? Surely the Government understands what is at stake? It was incredibly hard not to be able to give them any form of reasonable answer.”
“The facts speak for themselves. No-one in this Government fought for Victoria’s thousands of automotive workers and businesses. No-one ever got on a plane and went to Detroit to plea Victoria’s case, to fight for thousands of workers in Victoria.
“The Victorian Government has failed to recognise how important these highly skilled professionals are to our future economy.
“Our economy needs more highly skilled workers, not fewer. The Victorian Government, needs to wake up to the risks of losing the knowledge and expertise of these workers, particularly in light of the mining boom easing.
“Research, design and innovation are absolutely key to our future economy. As a nation, we can’t afford to lose one of these engineers, let alone 200 before Christmas.
“Surely the job of Government is to create an environment for our economy to prosper through innovation and the creation of new industries?” said Mr Walton.