The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) has launched a petition calling on members of Federal Parliament to continue to support the local automotive industry.
The petition follows last week's confirmation that 350 jobs would be axed from Toyota Australia’s Altona facility in Melbourne in a round of compulsory redundancies that will decrease the plant’s workforce by more than 10 per cent.
AMWU national secretary Dave Oliver says hundreds of workers have already signed the petition calling on Tony Abbott to commit to bipartisan support for the Australian automotive industry and abandon plans to make funding cuts.
Oliver says the Coalition’s proposal would deny the industry $1 billion between 2015 and 2020.
“The Coalition's policy would send a death rattle through the Australian car industry and the entire Australian manufacturing industry.
"The Coalition's policy is short sighted and jeopardises manufacturing jobs today and for the next generation.”
Oliver said the car industry and auto component industry paid the wages of more than 200,000 Australians, and said a sustainable automotive manufacturing industry needed to be a partnership between car companies, workers, unions, and all sides of politics.
“Unless the Coalition [can] provide that commitment, there's grave doubt over whether we can build the innovative, resilient and globally competitive industry this country wants and needs.”
An Essential Media poll last week found 68 per cent of Australians supported current levels of assistance to the car industry, including 72 per cent of Liberal/National voters.
On Tuesday, federal manufacturing minister Kim Carr described the automotive industry as the “foundation stone on which Australian manufacturing is built”, and insisted the government and the car companies would need to “go at it hard” to emerge from today’s challenging economic conditions.