Australia’s almost 100-year vehicle industry ended on Friday as Holden Ltd, a unit of General Motors, shut down its plant in South Australia to move production to more affordable places.
The closure comes a year following Toyota Motor and Ford Motor likewise moved out, getting rid of thousands of manufacturing jobs. It creates pressure on the government to help those made redundant discover work in a battlefield state ahead of a federal election in 18 months.
“The end of Holden making cars in Australia is a really sad day for the workers and for every Australian. It is end of an era,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull informed reporters at a regular briefing on Friday. “Everybody has a Holden story.”
Turnbull has sought to soften the effect of a declining automobile industry in a state which traditionally identifies who forms government by making South Australia a defense industry center.
The government prepares to boost defense spending by almost A$ 30 billion ($23.52 billion) by 2022, with the manufacture of a fleet of frigates, armored personnel carriers and submarines to be focused in South Australia.
However John Camillo, state secretary at Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union in South Australia, stated almost 2,500 newly unemployed will need government assistance for finding work.
“They have to be retrained to be able to work in defense, mining, aerospace, due to the fact that we are going to be constructing ships,” Camillo informed press reporters outside the GM Holden plant in Elizabeth, 26 kilometers (16.1 miles) north of state capital Adelaide.
Camillo was joined outside the factory by numerous workers and vehicle enthusiasts who had gathered to greet the last car off the production line.
Increasing discretionary earnings and record-low rates of interest have motivated consumers to purchase new cars, but lots of turned against the large passenger cars for which GM Holden is popular.