Manufacture Link:Where are the new jobs going to come from? 20 Feb 14
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine recently met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss the Victorian economy as the Victorian manufacturing industry collapses.
The meeting follows the announcements of Ford, Holden, Toyota and Alcoa that they are closing their local manufacturing operations in coming years with the loss of thousands of jobs and investment.
Premier Napthine pushed the case for the construction of the second stage of the East West Link that would link CityLink to the Western Ring Road meaning drivers and freight can avoid the city when travelling East to West.
Prime Minister has shown support for the project which is estimated to come at a cost of $14billion, create jobs and improve traffic congestion.
But the real question is where are jobs from all the redundant automotive workers, and now also Alcoa, going to find jobs. Whilst investing in infrastructure is in part a band-aid solution and will aid Australian manufacturing, but it is not a permanent fix.
The government has indicated that it will have some announcements to make in March, and then in the build-up to the Budget they will have some further announcements to make.
Given that Ford, Holden and possibly Toyota may not see it to the end, given the kiss of death that is now on their locally produced models, urgent action is required to offset what is going to be an alarming rise in Victoria’s unemployment rate.
New manufacturing opportunities have to be found for thousands of displaced workers and both governments and industry need to look at opportunities in aerospace, rail, defence and medical and if need be support the creation of new industries where Australia can compete that will create jobs.
There is no doubt that the Victorian economy faces challenges in coming years but any budgetary moves to support industry must be made quickly and free of government red tape. If need be the return to a federal budget surplus should be delayed to support the creation of new jobs and not welfare.