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GFC-style response needed

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As South Australia digests the news that Holden will close down over the next four years, the broader economic impact requires a Global Financial Crisis type of intervention, says a workforce analyst.

Adelaide University’s Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre head John Spoehr said today an immediate and swift response was needed.

“The response to the GFC provides the model for what we want,” he said.

“It needs to be swift, it needs to be fast and it needs to be substantial.”

Spoehr said most likely stimulus would come from investment in short-term infrastructure projects.

“It takes decades to create and build new industries.

“In the longer term we require substantial investment in industrial diversification in areas such as horticulture, manufacture of timber products – these will take five to seven years to mature.

“In the short term there’s going to have to be investment in infrastructure projects.”

Demographer Graeme Hugo said the northern suburbs will feel a strong social impact.

Hugo called for a coordinated effort via a task force to identify re-training and career change opportunities.

“Its a disadvantaged area and this is another body blow,” Hugo said.

“There are no silver bullets, no one-off answers; there’s no one thing to fix it.

“I’d like to see a task force; it’s going to take significant investment and substantial bipartisanship and political will.”

On a positive note, Hugo said the ability of people to adjust should not be underestimated.

“People have a longer working life and we are seeing people in the last third of their working life still able to make changes.

“It’s difficult, but it can be done. As a society we should embrace the capacity of older workers in particular.”

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