‘Australia facing a Tsunami of job losses’

Oscar Lobo

Cr Oscar Lobo calls for a report on consequences of car companies stopping manufacturing in the country

Glen Eira Councillor Oscar Lobo has called for a report into the ramifications of car companies ceasing manufacturing in Australia, warning that hundreds of people in the local community would lose their jobs.

Toyota in February announced that it would stop production in 2017, while last year Ford and Holden revealed plans to stop manufacturing in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Cr Lobo said the announcements had caused a “nationwide jobs crisis”, and Glen Eira was not immune.

“The closure of the Australian car manufacturing industry and the flow on effects through the automotive supply chain will create job losses throughout Glen Eira, where around 320 auto jobs are based,” Cr Lobo said at a council meeting on 18 March.

“This figure does not include Glen Eira residents who work in the industry. Many of these jobs are found at component manufacturers in East Bentleigh, including Chassis Brakes – Australia’s sole brakes manufacturer supplying the three carmakers,” he said.

The councillor said job cuts in other sectors was creating an economic slowdown in Victoria “not seen for many years”.

“There are other multi-sector job losses such as chemical and food manufacturing plants and suppliers, Qantas, the retail sector and now 350 jobs lost in La Trobe university, which have impacted the local community,” he said.

“We are now facing a Tsunami of job losses between now and 2017. This is a serious challenge to Councils,” he added.

Cr Lobo said it was crucial for council to now focus its resources on boosting small businesses, jobs and training.

“The council needs to lobby for more action on jobs in our regions by other long impending issues such as bringing forward investments in schools such as Coatesville School and not dilly-dally on grade separation that affects the City of Glen Eira,” he said.

Cr Lobo has called a report into the effects of the car manufacturing closures on Glen Eira’s businesses and residents.

“The report should identify any actions that Council can take to respond to the challenges posed by the closures and what advocacy Council can undertake on behalf of residents and businesses impacted by these closures,” he said.

Toyota blamed the high Australian dollar and fiercely competitive car industry for its decision.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said new jobs would be created to help cushion the losses in Victoria and South Australia.

ACTU spokesman Dave Oliver told the Guardian the country was witnessing the demise of an industry that had been the “bedrock” of Australian manufacturing.

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