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Xenophon says 200,000 jobs to go

Jobs first: Independent senator Nick Xenophon is pushing the federal government to provide better support to the automotive industry.

Closure of car industry will have much broader impact than automotive: Xenophon

General News logo22 Aug 2015

By IAN PORTER

SOUTH Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon has warned that the closure of the three Australian car-makers by the end of 2017 will create a wave of job losses beyond the automotive sector.

Senator Xenophon has urged the Abbott government to widen eligibility rules under the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) in order to help some small, specialist companies, but was rebuffed.

He said Victoria and South Australia would lose around 33,000 jobs in the supply chain as well as the 12,500 job losses at Ford, Holden and Toyota combined.

“The Bracks Report in 2008 estimated a multiplier effect of six jobs for every job in the automotive manufacturing or component job – this equates to between 150,000 to 200,000 job losses in the auto sector and beyond,” he said in a note to the interim report by the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into the future of the Australian automotive industry.

“Without decisive action by the federal government thousands of businesses, and the families that these businesses support, face ruin.

“That is why the government must commit to at least not only maintaining the current level of ATS funding through to 2020–2021 but also to expanding the eligibility criteria for the scheme to enable these businesses to diversify and grow.

“In fact, there is a compelling argument to increase funding given the enormous transition and challenges facing this vital sector.”

Senator Xenophon said he had raised the issue of SA company Supashock with the federal industry minister, Ian Macfarlane.

“Supashock hit the headlines recently when it was revealed that a shock absorber they designed and manufactured was the secret to Ford's recent success in V8 Supercar races,” Senator Xenophon said.

He said he had suggested the ATS eligibility criteria be widened so that Supashock could expand and develop into export markets.

“In the minister's response he advised the government will maintain the ATS in its original legislated form.

“This short-sightedness is unacceptable and I will continue to agitate for reform of the ATS in order to broaden its accessibility.”

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