It’s official, Australia’s car industry to close in October

By Leith van Onselen

In what will be almost a year to the day after the last vehicle rolled-off Ford’s Broadmeadows assembly plant, Australia’s automotive assembly industry will shutter for good this October, ending nearly 70 years of local production.

Last month, Holden announced that it would shutter its Elizabeth assembly plant on 20 October 2017. And overnight, Toyota announced that its Altona assembly plant will shut on 3 October. From The ABC:

Toyota said staff would drop from almost 4,000 to 1,300 people when it stops manufacturing and moves most of its white-collar workforce to the city.

In a statement, the company said the plant would stop building Aurions in August, Camry Hybrids in September and Camry petrol models in October…

The company said it intended to produce 61,000 cars by the year’s end – 26,000 for the domestic market and 34,000 to be sent overseas…

Mr Smith [AMWU] said it would be tough for workers to compete with an estimated 40,000 people who are employed by the broader industry.

“There’s going to be so many people coming onto the jobs market at the same time, it’s not just Toyota, it’s the component suppliers and all the other industries associated with them,” he said.

The official Department of Employment projection is for the closure of the car industry to cost some 27,500 manufacturing jobs over the five years to November 2020:

ScreenHunter_16851 Jan. 15 16.18

However, Valadkhani and Smyth (2016, Table II, p.698-701) also estimated that beyond the direct impact on manufacturers and parts suppliers, there will be a significant impact on output and tens of thousands of job losses in downstream and upstream industries, in particular the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PSTS) sector (see below chart).

On the uber-pessimistic side of the scale, University of Adelaide researchers, Lance Worrall and John Spoehr, estimated that the car industry’s closure could cost up to 200,000 jobs once employment multipliers are added into the mix, with about $29 billion wiped off Australia’s GDP.

Regardless, the impact of the car industry’s closure will be large and represent a big hit to the economies of South Australia and Victoria.

It will also leave a big dint in Australia’s balance of payments, with Australia’s automotive industry becoming 100% consumers, not producers, from end-2017, meaning that all our cars will need to be funded by other exports or external borrowings.

This Coalition Government should hang its head in shame. It encouraged the car makers to leave by decrying the $500 million in taxpayer assistance paid to them only to then set aside an extraordinary $50 billion dollars to build a dozen submarines in Adelaide, in addition to setting aside another $35 billion to build nine frigates locally, all in a bid to “create” around 3,000 jobs.

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Unconventional Economist
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    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      But they won’t be.. What they did get to do is openly celebrate the planned industry closure and loss of jobs. They celebrated. Vermin.

      • And dithering donothing is addressing the National Press Club today. the subject of his talk…
        CREATING JOBS !!!!!!!!!!!!! FFS

        But they won’t be jobs in the Car industry (EV’swould be good)
        or the Renewable Energy sector

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      No doubt there will be some suicides from all this,…let’s hope that some of them, take it upon themselves to Kill Hockey and/or Abbott before they Kill themselves,…It would make them National Heroes.

  1. if only my fellow OZ’s were less passive… More job losses, more money wasted by an inept government and a total disappointment of a leader…

    • I keep saying – not hungry enough, not angry enough… Too comfortable and perceiving they have too much to lose if the status-quo is upset.

      They need gut-searing hunger. They need abject poverty. That really brings about serios thinking of their children’s future – not the motherhood statements we get these days when you talk to them about it… it’s always “my children’s future” but the subtitle/small text is “but also my wealth…”

      It will be a long while until something happens – won’t be soon. Also consider that Australia doesn’t have a history of guillotines on the streets or ropes on lamp-posts.

      • Can’t rely on hungry, angry revolution. That kind of seething mass can be harnessed in all kinds of directions away from the true cause of the suffering. Those who cause these issues, the ones with means..they can just leave/abandon anytime things start getting really ugly.

        Even nazi SS who had half the planet hunting them, managed to often escape scott-free and live out their days. Some of them as professors and the like in the US & Canada.

      • Voted sustainable Australia in the election but got a liberal MP so been trying to get in touch with him about the issue. You?

      • Wanted to vote Sustainable Australia last election but not on the ticket where I am. Almost went to a Sustainable Aus meeting in North Perth last night but couldn’t make it. I’ll concede I could have tried harder on that front. Going to write to Ben Wyatt who, I’m told, isn’t interested in NG reform because apparently voters aren’t interested in that issue. Nevermind that it’s a pressing moral issue. He missed me the day(s) he came door knocking because, guess what, I was at work. I wonder what kind of voters he anticipated talking with by doing that? Retired home owners probably. I contacted my local MP re the TPP a couple years back but got such a standard piece of disinformation I don’t see the point doing that again with him. Oh, and I’ve hired a contract killer with my house deposit to off someone..

      • Hopefully you’ll get a chance to vote Sustainable Oz next time… PS: Heavies is the way to go and not contract….

  2. Ronin8317MEMBER

    It cost over 1 billion dollars a year to lock up 2000 asylum seekers in Manus Island and Nauru, but the government can’t find 500 million to keep the auto industry alive. It is just ideological claptrap because they hate blue collar workers.

    • See, this is where you start quite strongly to question when did we cross the line between “nah – they’re stupid – they know not what they do” and “that’s deliberate, intentional and with purpose that they want to destroy this country”

      Also – call me when you start questioning that they were ever the stupid and bumbling fools that we thought they were – because that’s what should be coming next in your line of questioning.

      Oh – and don’t worry – the Jerbs and Growf will save them all. Them high-tech jerbs – everyone’s a programmer app-writer creator, don’tcha know? There be jerbs in them clouds, no? Innovation, bitch… creativity, man! What you’ve done for the past 35 years doesn’t matter – you can up-and-at’em like a 16 year-old and pick up a bakery jerb while studying to become a make-up artist! WOOOOO! We’re in the money!

      [Hark-Spit!] treasonous mofos! …

    • It cost over 1 billion dollars a year to lock up 2000 asylum seekers in Manus Island and Nauru
      I’m sorry, I was too distracted by the $50 billion in useless submarines to notice. As if Australia were going to flex it’s military muscle in the South China Sea. HA HA HA HA!

    • True, but if the boats kept coming at 7 or more a day, it would cost many more billions more than billions already spent dealing with unauthorised arrivals.

    • rob barrattMEMBER

      I wouldn’t be too fast to call out (presumably LNP) hatred of blue collar workers. When Toyota was at the critical point of stay/not stay in Australia the MD announced to the work force that they would need to negotiate with management. Two union reps (not Toyota employees) immediately took the case to the Fair Work Commission asking them to prevent free negotiation. The result (announced late 2013)?
      ”The Federal Court’s decision to block Toyota from asking its factory workers to vote today on changes to shift flexibility and overtime bonuses means that it is now highly likely that the company will not be meet its stringent cost-reduction targets that are key to securing investment in the 2018 Camry.”

      The Fair Work Commission – a huge victory for Gillard (who also gave us Professor Triggs) & her limitless hubris. Either you worked through the union or you didn’t work.

      For Toyota – case closed.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        The union’s primary focus is the entitlement of the older workers, even if it means newer workers won’t have a job. That’s how the game is played.

        Ford was going to shut down anyway because they don’t want to invest in upgrading their plants to meet European standards. leaving Holden and Toyota. When Tony Abbott in 2013 told Holden there will be no subsidy, the new Holden boss in the US pulled the plug on the Australian operation, leaving only Toyota. The situation is not viable because the supply chain need at least 2 car makers to survive. By the time Toyota goes for cost cutting, it is already gone.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Sure Rob, blame the Union.
        But remember there isn’t a car in the world, thats not manufactured with a host country subsidy.
        Hockey and Abbott were on a hysterical Union busting orgy when they pulled the subsidy,…they knew exactly what would happen and didn’t give a fuck.
        They deserve to be burnt to death by a lynch mob of laid off workers.

      • rob barrattMEMBER

        Yes, the car industry has always been subsidized. Now, if I were PM I would make it quite plain that I wasn’t going to subsidise an industry where management had no say in pay & conditions. Those things were in the control of a third party (the union) who had nothing to lose by blackmailing the employers. The Royal Commission told us just what they were (and still are) doing with their members money via bottomless credit cards. . “Blaim the union”? Yes, I do. The workers are forced to join then told to [email protected]@k off if they ask awkward questions.

        PS I was a member of the union back when I was Lead Programmer at Lucas CAV. We went on strike & my 2IC and I worked as porters (the lowest form of animal life) at the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge for a few weeks…. Our unions hadn’t degenerated into the thug-ridden mafia that the labor unions have here.

      • rob barrattMEMBER

        First the IR debacle should have been addressed then you can rationalize support. That’s the failure. Cowardice, not hatred of the working class. Labor is still a CFMEU prostitute. They haven’t learned or they couldn’t care less as long as they get their entitlements.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      And the novated leasing nonsense. Didn’t our Tony mumble something about it being to protect the local car industry? I’m sure it was. It was about the same time Bozo Joe dared the local car industry to leave our shores.

      • Because budget emergency – bitches! Quit asking stoopid questions and get on with the plan! Get ya’ novated lease to go between your investment properties – like Reusa teaches us!

        FFS, you’re old enough and ugly enough to know that kind of revenue spigot will not be turned off without a larger one being opened. So, hop on – get your new 200 series, pay that LCT and go and buy a couple dozen negatively-geared investment apartments because house prices!


  3. Sad indeed, but at the end of the day most people do not care.
    Who actually aspires to drive a Falcon, Commodore or Camry? The only Falcons I see are taxis or police cars or the odd xr8.
    If novated leasing was only available for Aussie made cars, the industry would still be alive.

  4. Yes & watch those costs blow out through teething on something new.

    And they’re still thinking about throwing $1Billion to Adani with it’s potential pitfalls…….

  5. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Oh dear. Arfur $inodino$ was just on the wireless saying wtte that they closed the car industry because they wanted Australia to move away from being known as a commodity nation.

    I know. The NSW ICAC proved he’d lost his marbles but really…

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      And did dodgy Arfur mention what we want to become known as ? ……..I know, I know ………real estate nation !

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        He said innovation! Whodathunk?

        No word of where that will come from though. Definitely not manufacturing. That uses people for employees and people are hated.

      • Services man – services… who the fuck knows what services mean – but fuck – apparently that’s where we’re heading. (Speaking of which that narrative was present in spades when I got knifed at work… providing IT infrastructure to ${Enterprise} is so passé, we they want to become providers of services now… on a moment of wryness I quipped that IT infrastructure *IS* providing services – because infrastructure as far as the ${Enterprise} is concerned is from bare-metal to fucking API fucking gateways (whatever the fuck that shit is too, we used to call that RPC – and it was good)… )

        Where was I? . . . Ah – yes … Services man … We need to become a handjobs and holes services economy…

  6. Ten or so years ago I took a balanced view of politicians – some good, some hopeless. Watching their performance in recent years my attitude gradually morphed to general disgust and now I simply despise them all. They are incompetent, self-centred, venal, corrupt and treasonous.

  7. How much are we going to pay for dud-submarines for ‘defense’? Surely we would get better value for ‘defense’ money by spending $500mil on the car manufacturing industry. The car industry can transform quickly to produce military equipment when required. We should also have kept our oil refineries for the same reason.

  8. SchadenfreudeKing

    As I so love reminding you all, the Australian electorate voted for this. The LNP made it damn well clear what they were going to do in 2013, and people voted for them anyway.

    For all the blaming of politicians, they’re just a mirror of the electorate. And the electorate, in aggregate, wanted this industry dead, they wanted house prices to the moon, and they wanted everything behind a 50 year mining boom (which never happened). That’s what Australians voted for, and now that’s what you’ve got.

    Stop blaming stupid, lazy, venal politicians and start blaming your stupid, lazy, venal countrymen!

    • Done
      common responses from me …you voted for ’em ….you signed the fkn contract…you cheered the lift in divvy paid coz of cost cutting, so stop whinging ’bout no overtime…..

    • Yep, I take great enjoyment from conversations with pensioners getting their pension cut in January where I sigh in mock sympathy and point out that the government was elected democratically and we all have to accept the will of the people. Then I gently point out that the government has said it’s going to come after pensioners with the same demands for repayment if tax records don’t line up. I reassure them that they will be able to use their computer skills to set things to rights. After all, the government is saving them money by making it impossible to fix over the phone or by going in and talking to someone.

      Mind you, it’s a bit of a conversation killer though.

      • You rough rider you! A man after my own liking.

        I’d do the same were it not the fact that the oldbies I know are actually very very dear friends of mine, they’ve always done it tough and unlike many of their age – have figured long time ago that they’re boned, and that the young ones are even more boned than they are. So in my view, they don’t deserve the disingenuous and sarcastic burn, but hey, I’ll keep that in mind for when I’ll meet those who deserve it.

      • Ino, These guys are the type that whine about young people living in their parents’ spare room on unemployment benefits. I pour as much scorn on them as I do gen x types that engage in the same mindless intergenerational stereotyping.

    • Dead right, most of our countrymen are living in lah lah land, the country is going to shite and nobody wants to know about it.

  9. Our ‘New Australians’ (Chinese young and old) only want to drive Audis, Mercs, Beemers, and enormous European SUVs/4WDs ……

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Fine,..If one must compensate for a small cock or tits,… by only buying “the Best”,… then pay a 30-40% tariff to do so.

      Or an Aussie made car,.. tariff free.

      Those Aussie made camry hybrids have been taking over the taxi fleet in Sydney and Perth.
      Where are our Taxis and Police cars going to come from now?

  10. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation. For we are bought and sold (and drugged by) real estate price inflation/appreciation. The nation dreams and creams about being reamed by this. Arsetralia is only open for one business. Trousers’ down cheeks spread. No matter the offshore investment it is ultimately siphoned into the real estate merry go round brothel. Aspire to be a bludger-run your own brothel through IP’s. WHORES APLENTY. Firb, easy fuck. Politician, easy fuck. Councillor, easy fuck. Apra, Banker, RBA, Uni’s all easy fuck.
    No IP’s don’t fret. Dinna panick, the real estate phantom with the $$$$$$$$$$ dick will visit your place too. He’ll screw you and the partner and you both will live in bliss for your astuteness. Ask Reusa.
    This is a reply to the above about dodgy Arfur- and getting away from commodity nation status, I NO NATION-(innovation political claptrap) and service economy-Arsetralia fits all the afore mentioned criteria. As HnH said years back–Where the fuck is our national narrative as a nation going forward and addressed to the nation as a public?
    This is fucking insane- don’t buy a whore, buy real estate and you get the whores and pimps as a package deal. From the real estate agent all the way to the Prime Minister.

  11. A supplier visited me today those business is metal pressing and repetition manufacturing. A large proportion of their business is now infrastructure work, making brackets for pipe supports etc, that won’t last forever. Victoria will be hit hard the market is looking very grim post 2018.