Members Statement – Holden Job Losses

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) – I rise to pay tribute to Holden Australia. Yesterday was arguably the saddest day I have had in this place since I was elected almost two years ago. I grew up in a family loyal and dedicated to Holdens. Dad was a Holden man, not a Ford man. When I was six years old dad and mum bought the family’s first brand-new car, a 1981 Holden VC Commodore bronze station wagon. It would be the family car for the next decade and would take the family on a trip to Queensland. My first car was a classic: a green 1963 Holden EH Premier sedan. I would later have a Holden Vectra, followed by a Holden Astra hatchback. As a member of Parliament I elected to have a Holden Calais. Today my sister works in marketing at Holden’s headquarters at Fishermans Bend. She even starred recently in the TV commercial for the new Holden Cruze. Yesterday’s news that Holden will stop manufacturing in Australia is devastating for the 3000 workers employed at Holden, for the 1300 who are located here in Victoria and for the 29 000 workers employed in the auto components industry, half of whom are located in Victoria.

I want to put on record the attitude of the new conservative Liberal government in Canberra. I could not believe the front page of yesterday’s Australian Financial Review, with the headline ‘Hockey dares GM to leave.’ By 2.00pm, it had. I also note recent comments by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald of 10 December, that:

They’re very good at using taxpayers money but … not that good at maintaining production and jobs despite the use of taxpayers money.

The Prime Minister is wrong. The industry is responsible for about $5.4 billion of economic activity nationwide, 40 per cent through vehicle production and 60 per cent through the production of parts and components.

Hansard, Thursday 12 December, 2013