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"Difficult day" says Acting PM

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Holden’s decision to stop manufacturing in Australia in 2017 was a difficult day for Holden employees in Victoria and South Australia, Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said.

“We regret the fact that GM is phasing down its operations in this country,” Mr Truss told parliament.

“Holden has been an iconic national brand for Australians. It’s part of our heritage.”

Mr Truss said the government had wanted Holden to continue making cars in Australia and it was a pity that would not happen.

“This is a difficult day for Australians, a difficult day particularly for the Holden employees,” he said.

Mr Truss said Holden would still have a presence in Australia after 2017 and the government would support the local manufacturing industry.

“We want, in fact, to see a manufacturing sector that’s strong and vibrant and able to stand on its own feet,” he added.

The news broke at 1.30pm SA time when Victorian Premier Denis Napthine told parliament.

Dr Napthine said his government had been advised that Holden is discontinuing in 2017, and it’s an “irreversible decision”.

Dan Akerson chairman and CEO of GM, Holden’s parent company, issued a statement confirming the end of withdrawal and the transition of Holden to a sales company.

“The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the industry faces in the country including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world,” he said in a statement.

He said approximately 2900 positions would be cut over the next four years – 1600 from Elizabeth in South Australia and 1300 from Victoria.

Australian chairman Mike Devereux said the priority over the next four years would be to ensure the best possible transition for workers in South Australia and Victoria.

“This has been a difficult decision given Holden’s long and proud history of building vehicles in Australia,” Mr Devereux said in the statement.

The federal government was informed just before 2pm (AEDT) of the decision by General Motors to close a “significant” part of its Holden operation in Australia and New Zealand. It came just one day after Devereux had told a Productivity Commission hearing “no decision has been made”.

 

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