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Car-maker inquiry seeks more face-to-face feedback

Scaling down: Another round of Productivity Commission hearings is expected to give a voice to components-makers struggling to survive.

Productivity Commission slates more public hearing days ahead of final report

General News logo14 Feb 2014

PARTS-MAKERS will have their chance to voice concerns over the end of mass-market car-making in Australia, with the federal government body tasked with exploring the future of automotive manufacturing announcing two public hearings next week.

The Productivity Commission today announced it would hold one public hearing in Melbourne next Wednesday, February 19, and another in Adelaide on Thursday, February 20 – the first since the commission’s brief was expanded to include the beleaguered car-parts industry.

Earlier this week, federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane asked the commission to refocus on the parts supply sector to keep as much of the industry afloat as possible in the wake of the decisions by Holden, Ford and Toyota to all quit local manufacturing by the end of 2017.

“Public hearings provide participants with the opportunity to elaborate on their submissions and to discuss issues with commissioners,” the PC said while announcing the hearings.

“Those who lodge submissions are encouraged, but are under no obligation, to appear at the public hearings.”

So far, the commission has received almost 240 submissions into its hastily convened inquiry into Australia’s dying car industry, which started after Ford had announced it would quit making vehicles here in 2016.

Both Holden and Toyota have subsequently announced they will both pull out in 2017.

Only four of those submissions were lodged after a damning position paper calling for the end of all car industry subsidies was released late last month.

The commission is expected to hand down its final report into the industry on March 31.

Meanwhile, prime minister Tony Abbott has said a $60 million support package to help Holden workers who will not have jobs beyond 2017 will be expanded to include Toyota workers.

“We’ve got this $60 million adjustment package for Holden workers and I suspect that will probably get enhanced, given that there is now another business involved,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax radio this morning.

The federal government has pledged $100 million to help Ford and Holden since the announcement of their closures, however no specific support package has been announced for Toyota.

Mr Abbott said the $100 million was a “good first step” for helping displaced Ford and Holden workers adjust to life after car-making ended.

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