Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter this afternoon is for the Premier, and it relates to the 1300 jobs that will be lost as a result of Holden’s decision to cease production in 2017. With the significant job losses announced over the past 12 months in general manufacturing and vehicle manufacturing in particular, the action I seek is for the Premier to provide a clear plan as to how he and his government intend to ensure that thousands of retrenched blue-collar workers will gain genuinely secure, full-time employment.
I am particularly concerned that the majority of people who are losing jobs in vehicle manufacturing are those who do not have a trade or profession. They are semi-skilled workers who do not have a certificate. It is going to be incredibly difficult for them to find employment. Thousands of these workers are job ready and will continue to flood the jobs market over the coming months, but when Ford and Holden close, a huge bottleneck will occur.
A hands-on approach is critical. Every single worker needs to have high-quality, intensive individual case management into new employment. We also need to have a system in place where money that is designed to assist retrenched vehicle workers in gaining employment is clearly expended on those very workers and not diverted to other activities. Any structures or committees at a state or local level that are set up to oversee any plan to deal with this issue must not have people on them — whether they be Liberal-Nationals coalition appointments or bureaucrats — who do not have the interests of vehicle workers front and centre.
We cannot tolerate situations where vehicle worker representatives have to battle and reprosecute guidelines to ensure that money designed to assist vehicle workers is not hijacked to other interests. This is the current case in Geelong, where Ford workers continue to battle to have funds prioritised for their skill needs and future employment. I seek the Premier’s urgent attention not just in terms of rectifying the situation and making sure that there is a proper, planned approach to dealing with large numbers of retrenched workers but also that he look at the current case in Geelong in relation to Ford workers.