Peter Khalil: At 9.30 am on 7 October 2016 the Ford plant in Broadmeadows in Victoria ceased production forever. At that moment some 400 jobs were extinguished. The full impact to those companies down the supply chain is yet to be fully realised. There are not many dominos left to fall before car manufacturing in this nation is over for good. Many of the workers suffering job losses or who will lose their jobs live in my electorate of Wills. While these closures may mark the end of an era in Australia’s automotive history, this time represents new challenges that are only beginning for many of these people. A survey conducted following the closure of the Mitsubishi plant in Adelaide showed that only a third of workers went on to permanent work six months after being retrenched. The remainder lingered as unemployed or underemployed or were forced into retirement. Additionally, the Australian Catholic University’s longitudinal study of ex auto workers found that nearly 90 per cent have not searched for new jobs outside the sector because it is all they know how to do.
So for the Ford workers and their families, this is about more than just nostalgia for a beloved brand name; it is about their livelihoods. I know they and their families are nervous about the future. To those workers, know that Labor will fight to protect and enhance your future prospects and defend your dignity. We have and are working on policies that include job creation programs to utilise your existing skills, including investing in training and education programs to empower you with new skills. We will always believe that there is a moral duty to help those families who are in transition.