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Ford pledges $10 million to assistance fund

More money: Ford will tip in $10 million to help workers from its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants.

Ford joins federal government to provide extra $25.1 million to help axed workers

Ford logo3 Jun 2013

FORD Australia has agreed to contribute $10 million to support the northern Melbourne and Geelong regions affected by its decision to pull out of manufacturing here in October 2016.

The money will go towards a “community transformation fund” to help the almost 1200 workers who are set to lose their jobs at the Broadmeadows manufacturing line and Geelong engine plant.

GoAuto understands the specifics of exactly where the money will go are still being worked out.

The news comes after prime minister Julia Gillard met with Ford workers in Geelong on Saturday, at which time she pledged an additional $15.1 million in federal assistance.

The $15.1 million boost will fund career advice, training and support, and comes in addition to the $39 million in state and federal funding already allocated in the aftermath of the plant closure announcement.

GoAuto has learned Ford agreed to its contribution on Friday. The funding pledge follows renewed calls from government to contribute to the public fund, with some federal politicians last week urging the car company to commit to between $10 million and $15 million.

The ALP’s $15.1 million funding boost announced over the weekend brings direct federal and state funding up to $54.1 million, with Ford’s contribution taking this to $64.1 million.

The specifics are still being sorted through, but the money will go towards “economic development and diversification” in Geelong and Broadmeadows, including to help retrain affected workers in time for the closure of the plants.

The federal government says that, from this $15.1 million, $5 million will be “immediately set aside” from the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) to provide career advice and training, and to help affected areas “respond to this significant adjustment in the local economy”.

A further $5 million from future years’ NWDF allocations will be set aside for the future skills needs of the automotive sector should further assistance be required.

The ALP has also made Geelong a federal ‘Priority Employment Area’, giving it access to a $200,000 funding pool to help workers transition either before the plant closure, or directly following it.

The regional city will also play host to an Australian Jobs and Skills Expo prior to June 30, 2014.

Broadmeadows is already covered by the North Western Melbourne Priority Employment Area, meaning it is entitled to the same as Geelong. There are 21 such areas in all of Australia.

Four smaller, targeted Jobs Marts will be held where and when they are needed at a cost of up to $100,000 each.

The Gillard government will also provide $470,000 in assistance to the Federation of Automotive Parts Manufacturers (FAPM) to support downstream businesses affected by Ford’s decision.

The $15.1 million boost is separate to the existing $51.9 million Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Program (AISAP) which provides automatic access to Ford employees to job services support.

The AISAP also gives workers one-on-one support and additional funding of $2880 per person to obtain work-related items such as clothing, safety equipment and licences or help with short-term travel and relocation costs when starting new jobs.

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