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by Tim Beissmann

The Federal Government has announced an expansion of the growth fund designed to create new jobs for Victorian and South Australian workers displaced by the dissolution of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry.

The fund, which was initially capped at $100 million when announced in December as part of the government’s National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda, has been expanded to $155m.

The Federal Government has increased its contribution by $40m to $100m, with the remaining $15m to be provided by state government and company contributions.

The growth fund includes $60m for a next-generation manufacturing investment program to accelerate private sector investment in high-value, non-automotive manufacturing sectors; another $60m split evenly between a skills and training program and a regional infrastructure program; $20m for an automotive diversification program to assist supply chain firms enter new markets; and a $15m boost to the automotive industry structural adjustment program to provide career advice and help workers secure new jobs.

Reports from July claimed Holden had asked the Federal Government for an extra $265m to shore up its local manufacturing operations on top of the $275m already promised to it, though with no additional assistance forthcoming announced its decision to cease Australia vehicle and engine production by 2017 in December.

Holden’s decision came seven months after Ford Australia’s May 2013 withdrawal announcement, with Toyota Australia following suit in February this year.

The growth fund is designed to help many of the 50,000 Australians currently employed in the automotive manufacturing industry.




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