A grand total of $333 million is sought by South Australia from the commonwealth as part of the state’s plan to overcome the loss of car maker Holden.
But Canberra looks unlikely to stump up the funds, after Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane rejected “band-aid” measures.
Premier Jay Weatherill on Tuesday called for the “modest” federal contribution, committing the state government to provide $60 million over four years to handle the closure, which he said put 13,000 SA jobs at risk.
“Now is not the time to cut and run. Now is the time to step up and work together,” he said.
The six-point plan includes support for Holden workers and the community, a restructure of the automotive industry, a jobs acceleration fund and expediting major infrastructure projects.
Mr Weatherill said the plan was developed in consultation with the community sector, banks, industry leaders and unions.
“But we cannot do it alone. The federal government must also step up and invest,” he said.
“The plan we are asking them to help fund is robust and reasonable, with a cost that’s just a third of the savings the federal government is making by cutting car industry support.”
In response to the proposal, Mr MacFarlane pointed toward manufacturing industry talks scheduled to begin in Adelaide on February 5.
“The Australian government is taking a methodical, considered and informed approach to mapping the future of manufacturing in South Australia, in contrast to the blatant made-for-TV politicking and grandstanding by the South Australian premier,” said a statement from the minister’s office.
Mr Macfarlane said SA was at a crossroads, “with a looming opportunity to develop a new approach to industry and manufacturing”.
“The Australian government is focused on laying the foundations for the long term future of South Australian manufacturing, not on applying short-term solutions or taxpayer-funded Band-Aids.”
Mr Weatherill said his government would “get cracking” on the plan with or without federal support, but added he was confident Canberra would come on board.
He said jobs would be created by bringing forward high-priority infrastructure projects, including the Torrens to Torrens and Darlington interchange upgrades in Adelaide, and upgrading the main access road into the APY Lands.
Another plan includes a $200 million industry loan scheme – with $180 million to come from the Commonwealth – to be administered by the state’s Economic Development Board.
South Australian opposition leader Steven Marshall said the suite of ideas, which deals with problems in 2017, was a “completely inadequate response” to the state’s present job crisis.