Businesses eye Holden factory

Global automotive companies show interest in Holden's doomed Adelaide plant

A number of international automotive manufacturers have expressed interest in Holden’s Adelaide factory following its closure in 2017, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has revealed.

Premier Weatherill revealed the news just before Christmas, following a meeting by key industry leaders to identify job-creation projects to absorb some of the 1600 job losses at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide’s north.

“We're receiving unsolicited propositions from a range of companies and others that we've gone out and pursued ourselves. We're obviously working through them,” said Weatherill.

“It is sensible to consider other options and it's not just car manufacturers.

“There's also armoured vehicle manufacturers and other whole sectors that have completely different industry opportunities, for instance in the food industry.

“All of those things are on the table and they're being given consideration, too.”

Weatherill said an official response would be made this year and the SA government would also consider targeted support, including regulatory and financial assistance, to accelerate the expansion of existing companies.

The SA premier said he believed "tens of thousands" of jobs could be created to help counter the losses at Holden and its independent component suppliers.

The federal government announced a $100 million ‘transition’ package on December 11, including $60 million from the commonwealth and $12 million from the Victorian government, and called on the SA government to add $8 million.

Weatherill said his state government was prepared to put forward $50 million for the cause and challenged the federal government to increase support to $375 million.

Days earlier, Victoria’s Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and Gas Energy Australia proposed to Victorian premier Denis Napthine’s auto industry round table a series of “world-class” LPG conversion facilities in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide.

Apart from redeveloping Holden’s Elizabeth manufacturing site, Weatherill said new ship-building and train line projects could be commenced with federal government funding.

“There is a new game in town. It's the closure of Holdens. It does mean that we have to consider things that perhaps haven't been considered before,” he said.

“We think there's a number of companies... but for the costs associated with augmentation of the infrastructure around water or transport or electricity or gas, they may actually be able to make their investment decision.

“We want to identify and accelerate that. We're focusing on those companies that have propositions that they're exploring that may be able to be unlocked in the near term.

“On a case-by-case basis there are things particular to different enterprises.

“There's a range of approvals that state governments are responsible for that we can expedite. We still can make prudent investments to get projects that are currently blocked underway.”

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Published : Thursday, 2 January 2014
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