Ford leaves Australia as nation prepares for car industry closure

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MELBOURNE, Oct. 7 (PNA/Xinhua) — After 91 years, the Ford Motor Company has produced its last car in Australia on Friday.

The closure of the Ford factories in Campbellfield and Geelong in the state of Victoria, was announced by the motoring giant in 2013.

Ford is not alone in leaving Australia, with Toyota and Holden, which was founded and has its headquarters in Australia, set to leave in 2017.

The car workers’ union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), said that Australia had never before experienced such a rapid closure of an entire industry especially one as important as car manufacturing – and that between 40,000 and 200, 000 jobs would be lost nationally.

The decision by Ford to leave Australia came in the wake of the company posting considerable losses amounting to 450 million US dollars over five years.

In announcing the closures Bob Graziano, President of Ford Australia, said the cost of manufacturing a relatively small number of cars in Australia was four times the cost of doing so in Asia and double the cost of manufacturing in Europe.

The Ford closure in Campbellfield and Geelong has left 1200 people without jobs.

Ford and the state government have committed to placing them in new employment. Besides generous redundancy packages, they will be placed in retraining programs and job placement schemes.

Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, said the government had committed 98 million US dollars to support the workers and the communities hit hardest by Ford’s departure.

Greg Hunt, Federal Industry Minister, said that the Ford workers would be able to access the 117 million US dollar “Growth Fund” assistance package which is focused on helping automotive workers transition to new jobs.

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