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Holden quits: Vic premier expects big GM payout

Assistance required: Victorian premier Denis Napthine is calling for assistance packages from Holden and the federal government.

Denis Napthine says he expects GM to stump up more than $25 million in aid

Holden logo12 Dec 2013

VICTORIAN premier Denis Napthine has flagged he expects General Motors to dig deeply in its pockets to help pay for the cost of training workers affected by Holden’s car-making shut-down.

However, where Ford said it would tip $25 million into the Victorian economy to help lessen the blow if its decision to quit Australia in late 2016, Mr Napthine said he expected Holden’s parent, General Motors, would need to be much more generous with its assistance.

“I’ve had discussions this morning with Mike Devereux from General Motors, and I would fully expect and have confidence that General Motors will fully pay out their workers,” Mr Napthine said this morning shortly before heading off to a meeting with prime minister Tony Abbott in Canberra later today.

“I would also expect that General Motors will, of their own volition, introduce systems to assist workers in reskilling, retraining and a system in seeking new opportunities.

“I’ve also told Mr Devereux this morning that the Ford Motor Company made a significant contribution to the package of assistance for the Ford workers, and I would be looking for a similar, or even greater contribution from General Motors given the size of the impact.”

Mr Napthine said money promised to Holden early last year to build next-generation cars at Elizabeth would not be handed over.

“In March 2012, the Victorian coalition government together with the then federal Labor government put together a package of $235 million of assistance for General Motors Holden,” Mr Napthine said.

“The state component of that package was contingent on Holden agreeing to certain outcomes. At this stage Holden hasn’t met those outcomes, hasn’t signed those deals and so there’s been no state money handed over to Holden, and I would not imagine that that money would be provided to General Motors.”

Mr Napthine said his meeting with Mr Abbott later today, alongside South Australian premier Jay Weatherill, would focus on seeking assistance for the almost 4000 Holden workers who will be affected by yesterday’s announcement.

However, he said the level of assistance was yet to be determined.

“The figures haven’t been determined,” he said. “This is the first 24 hours since this decision was confirmed by General Motors in Detroit, but what I’ll be saying directly to the prime minister is that this is a curious situation that needs substantial effort from the federal government.

“Firstly to assist the affected workers and their families, and then to support general jobs growth in the Victorian economy, and jobs transformation of the Victorian economy.

“So we’re talking a substantial amount of money.”

Mr Napthine said he would be meeting with Victoria’s other car-maker, Toyota, next week to discuss its long-term prospects in Australia.

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