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October date set for Holden closure

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Holden will close its doors on its Elizabeth plant on October 20, its local workforce was told today.

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The carmaker confirmed in a statement it would cease its operations on that date, broadly in line with its earlier commitment to wind down manufacturing by the end of the year.

Executive Director of Manufacturing Richard Phillips said the company’s overriding priority was to give employees and suppliers advance notice and “provide certainty”.

“While this confirmation isn’t a surprise for anyone and we’ve been working toward this for nearly four years, we can now confirm the actual date for our people and our suppliers,” he said.

“Putting our people first and foremost has always been our highest priority.

“This October may bring to a close more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing by Holden at Elizabeth, but I know it will be business as usual for our manufacturing workforce until then – we have tens of thousands of world-class cars to build in coming months and I know we all want to see Holden have great success in Australia for many years to come.“

Phillips said almost 1000 workers would remain at the plant until it ceased operating, with no further plans for workforce reductions until then.

He said of the nearly 700 people who had left the plant since 2015, 69 per cent had found work within 12 months, with a further five per cent in training and three per cent retired.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Bernhard said the manufacturing workforce had “set new benchmarks for quality and performance in the past four years”.

“It’s not surprising that their skills, work ethic and flexibility are highly sought after, and they are leaving a legacy for Holden that deserves to be honoured by ensuring this company has a bright and successful future.

“Holden continues to change but we are proud to retain a significant presence in Australia for the long-term.”

Holden will produce more than 30,000 cars in Elizabeth before production ends.

Automotive Transformation Minister Kyam Maher said his “thoughts are with the workers at Holden, the supply chain workers and their families”.

“Although Holden has always said production will cease at the end of this year, today is a difficult day for South Australia, workers and the automotive supply chain,” he said, adding that the State Government had “worked hard to support workers to transition into training and new employment”.

“These workers shouldn’t have to lose their jobs,” he said, renewing calls for the Federal Government to release new Automotive Transformation Scheme funding.

“The people of SA have been very loyal to Holden for more than half a century and Holden have an obligation to repay that,” he said.

“If Holden don’t do the right thing over the coming months, I’m sure people will stop buying their cars.”

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