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SA seeks Holden money for state recovery

Money changer: South Australian Premier says the federal government – and Holden – need to help the state adjust to the loss of its car-making industry.

Premier Weatherill says $330m earmarked for Holden should now help its workers

Holden logo21 Jan 2014

SOUTH Australian premier Jay Weatherill has asked the federal government to divert $330 million to help it deal with Holden’s closure.

Mr Weatherill today announced a six-point recovery plan to help the state deal with Holden’s closure of its Elizabeth-based car-making plant, with the state committing to tipping in $60 million over four years to help workers – and SA – adjust to the change.

As reported in December, the federal government has offered SA and Victoria, which houses Holden’s engine production line, proving grounds and engineering and design centres, $100 million to help them adjust to the car-maker’s 2017 departure.

“Now is not the time to cut and run – now is the time to step up and work together,” Mr Weatherill said today while announcing the plan.

“There are 13,000 South Australian jobs at risk and we need to look after those workers and every other South Australian who will be affected by the closure.

“For automotive workers this plan means you will be provided with support to retrain, to find new work and get counselling that helps you manage the impacts on your budget and family life.

 center imageLeft: South Australian premier Jay Weatherill.

“For people who live in the northern and southern suburbs most directly affected, this plan means local employment opportunities will be strengthened, and your streets and neighbourhoods to help prevent a cycle of disadvantage taking hold.

“For workers and industries, this plan means that government will be making investments that help your industry grow faster, create more jobs sooner and enable you to plan your future in South Australia with confidence.”

Mr Weatherill said the state’s jobs plan was developed in consultation with the community, banks, industry leaders and unions.

“But we cannot do it alone – the Federal Government must also step up and invest. The plan we are asking them to help fund is robust and reasonable with a cost that’s just a third of the savings the Federal Government is making by cutting car industry support,” he said.

“Importantly it will support workers, their families and will be a vital part of creating new jobs in South Australia. General Motors Holden will also need to commit to working with us.” As well as offering direct support to Holden workers, the SA plan includes supporting about 200 businesses to create 5500 jobs as they diversify from making car parts.

One of those projects earmarked for government support includes sealing the 459km-long Srzelecki Track between Lyndhurst and Innamincka.

The full jobs plan includes:* Supporting displaced workers by introducing new programs that will re-skill and re-employ workers affected by GM Holden’s closure.

* Supporting affected communities by:
- An employment strategy for northern Adelaide, attracting new growth industries and maintaining public assets.
- A community building fund to invest in urban regeneration and local projects.

* Supporting restructuring of the automotive industry by:
- Expanding the Automotive Diversification Program to help automotive supply businesses to find alternative markets and opportunities.
- Helping about 200 companies providing up to 5500 jobs to diversify from the automotive supply chain over the next four years.
- Assisting the Industry Capability Network to manage the impact of firm closures.
- Reviewing the future use of the GM Holden plant and site.

* Accelerating advanced manufacturing by:
- Developing industry roadmaps for new industries to support economic diversification.
- Supporting new smart specialisation clusters and precincts where future industries can work together to innovate, create jobs and secure export growth.
- Providing new Business Transformation Vouchers of up to $50,000 to support about 200 small and medium enterprises to tap into expert advice that will help their business to grow and diversify.
- Expanding the Manufacturing Leaders Network to expose manufacturers to global trends, expertise and knowledge about high performance manufacturing.

* Creating new jobs by:
- Establishing a new Jobs Acceleration Fund to assist businesses to invest in new economic activity that creates jobs in South Australia.
- Supporting local entrepreneurs to turn good ideas into successful ventures through start-up initiatives.

* Accelerating infrastructure projects to create jobs by:
- Working with the Australian government to bring forward high priority infrastructure projects including: the Torrens to Torrens and South Road Darlington projects the northern connector Eyre and Yorke Peninsula port infrastructure sealing the Strzelecki Track reinstating funding to upgrade the main access road into the APY Lands upgrading Kingscote Airport constructing the Mt Barker interchanges accelerating deployment of the National Broadband network.

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