Sydney: Ford will close its manufacturing operations in Australia and 1200 workers will lose their jobs in October 2016.
Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said that the company would shut the Geelong engine factory, costing 510 jobs, and the Broadmeadows car assembly line, shedding another 650 positions, reports News.com.au.
Sacked workers have been offered a 39 million-dollar rescue package from the Federal and Victorian governments to help them find a new job. The Gillard Government will contribute 30 million-dollar with only 9 million dollars coming from the Victorian Government.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard called on Ford to contribute money to the fund. She said Ford would keep a 34 million-dollar taxpayer grant to make new models in 2014 and secure jobs until 2016. Acting Industry Minister Craig Emerson said Holden had promised to stay in Australia until at least 2022.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said it was a "black day for Australian manufacturing". There are concerns the grant will be nowhere near enough to help re-skill the workers at Broadmeadows and Geelong who have been told they will no longer have a job when Ford ceases production in October 2016.
Gillard said there would also be 12 million dollars in assistance for automotive supply chain - 10 million dollars from Canberra and 2 million dollars from Victoria - to support the thousands of other workers in industries that rely on Ford such as component makers to help them diversify and win new markets.
The company says it will remain in Australia selling imported cars, just as Mitsubishi did when it shut its Adelaide car factory in 2008. The announcement will leave Toyota and Holden as the two remaining car manufacturers in Australia.
First Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 19:41