Car companies Ford, Holden and Toyota might close their Australian manufacturing operations sooner if there are failures in their supply chains, former Labor industry minister Greg Combet warns.
Mr Combet, who now heads an industry task force in South Australia responding to Holden’s planned closure, said said car industry component suppliers were in diabolical trouble.
All three car makers have announced plans to end production here by 2016 or 2017.
Mr Combet questioned whether Toyota workers would still have their jobs in two and a half years.
“The fact of the matter is that if some of the companies in Toyota or General Motors’ supply chain go under due to cash flow problems, falling volumes … and those are the only suppliers of those products, then Toyota and Holden are going to have a decision to make, and Ford for for that matter,” he told ABC television.
Mr Combet said car makers would face the choice of either stepping in and propping up the companies or seek out imported components.
“Or they might say this is too difficult,” he said.
Mr Combet said the affected car manufacturing workers needed to be supported into new work.
“There needs to be an entitlement for employees affected by this to have access to the training they need and that simply needs to be funded,” he said.
“The cost of that will be the cost of that. That’s I think what the community and governments owe to those people.”
Ford plans to close its plants by October 2016, and Holden and Toyota by the end of 2017.