Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has dismissed South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s post-Holden plan for the state as a pre-election stunt with no substance.
Weatherill yesterday announced his rescue plan for workers displaced by Holden’s decision to cease production by the end of 2017, proposing 14 initiatives targeted at re-skilling and re-employing workers and supporting the diversification of industries and employment opportunities in South Australia.
The SA premier’s ‘Our Jobs Plan’ proposed a four-year $60 million State Government commitment, and asked for an additional $330 million from the Federal Government and hundreds of millions more in funding for infrastructure in a pitch Weatherill labelled “robust and reasonable”.
Macfarlane quickly criticised Weatherill’s plan, however, and his lack of appropriate consultation with the Federal Government before making the announcement.
“Two months out from an election, a premier puts forward a proposal where he requires the Federal Government to put in $1.3 billion and he throws in $30 million or $40 million or $50 million,” Macfarlane told ABC News.
“I don’t see the substance in that, I don’t understand what he’s proposing, he hasn’t discussed it with me. There’s been no depth to what he’s been saying.
“Those sort of band-aid disposals offer no solution to South Australia. What you need is a measured, dedicated, well-researched approach to how we’re going to deal with the issues.”
Macfarlane said the Coalition government was working on a plan that would “serve South Australia well for a decade, not for two months just to get a Labor government re-elected”.
Macfarlane is in Victoria this week talking with businesses about a plan for the future after the closures of Ford and Holden’s manufacturing operations in 2016 and 2017. He will continue similar talks in South Australia in the coming weeks.