The announcement that Toyota will cease manufacturing operations in Australia is devastating. This is sad news for our community and will have a profound impact upon many.
It will mean the direct loss of 2500 jobs at the Altona factory, but will also have flow on effects for thousands of others working in linked and service industries.
This will affect local families too – husbands, wives, partners and children. Many are already bearing the brunt of cuts from the Abbott Government, and my thoughts are with them during what must be an extraordinarily difficult time.
It is also bad news for our state, with tens of thousands of Victorian jobs now at risk. Component manufacturing workers, related small business employees and those in the Research and Development sector are also in danger of losing their jobs.
This will have a disastrous and long-lasting impact on our state’s economy, future industry potential and job creation in Victoria.
Ultimately, this situation demonstrates the Abbott Government’s failure to work proactively to secure our automotive industry and support Australian jobs.
Prime Minister Abbott could - and should - have worked with both General Motors and Toyota to find ways to ensure their continued presence in Australia. Instead, he has played politics with the livelihood of thousands.
The Labor Opposition is calling on the Government to be part of a bi-partisan commitment to secure jobs and training for those affected. These workers need opportunities, not to join the unemployment queue.
Locally, I know that residents will be looking out for affected family, friends and neighbours and I urge our community to stand together in the face of this sad news.