Abbott told reporters the $100 million fund would be used to "invest in potential employment-generating projects in South Australia and in Victoria".
The Federal Government will contribute $60 million to the fund. A further $12 million will come from the Victorian Government, while Abbott said the government was negotiating with South Australia to match Victoria’s contribution and was hopeful of securing “$20 million perhaps from Holden”.
He said the government would commission reviews of the strategic prospects of both states as part of the assistance program, and also confirmed he would chair a wider Federal Government taskforce designed to investigate ways to build industry in Australia.
Holden’s withdrawal from local manufacturing will lead to the loss of 2900 jobs over the next four years, including approximately 1600 from the car maker’s vehicle manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, and 1300 from its Victorian engine plant and design hub in Port Melbourne.
The $100 million funding package does not take into account the thousands of workers employed by parts suppliers who are expected to face the axe in the future as demand for locally manufactured components dries up.
Approximately 50,000 Australians are employed in the automotive industry.