The future of the Australian automaking industry is not looking good with General Motors’ recent announcement it would cease manufacturing operations in the country by 2017. GM’s announcement follow’s Ford’s earlier announcement that it would shutter manufacturing operations after 2016. To help deal with the blow the industry and its workers will face in the years ahead, the Australian government has set up a $89 million fund ($100 million Australian) to provide assistance to displaced automotive workers, according to Reuters.
The majority of money for the fund will come from the Australian federal government, with the provincial governments of Victoria and South Australia contributing most the balance. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he also expected that General Motors would make a contribution to the special fund. In terms of the prospect of GM’s Australian operations getting a bailout, Abbot said, “This government will be very loathe to consider requests for subsidies.” Abbott’s government is looking to transition Australia away from heavy manufacturing to more “value added” industries.
The only remaining automaker in Australia that builds in any significant volume is Toyota, although GM’s announcement following Ford’s puts the future of the entire Australian automaking industry in question.