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Monday, 31 October 2005
Page: 130

Mr JENKINS (9:18 PM) —The announcement by Siemens VDO Automotive Australia that they are to construct their new office and manufacturing facility in my electorate was again a welcome and significant vote of confidence in Melbourne’s north. On 14 October the Premier turned the first sod to signify the start of the construction of the new facility. Premier Bracks spoke and Zoran Angelkovski, President and CEO of Siemens VDO Automotive Australia, and Josef Besting, Chairman of the Siemens VDO Automotive Supervisory Board for Australia, also spoke. Both speakers on behalf of Siemens VDO indicated their strong commitment to the automotive industry in Australia. They also indicated that the cooperation and the strategic alliance with the Victorian state government made their announcement to adopt the site in Bundoora on the former Janefield land possible. This is a significant investment in our local area—almost $25 million in constructing the new buildings and a further $70 million in capital equipment over the next six years. Siemens VDO already employ 350 people throughout Australia.

In his speech on the day, Zoran Angelkovski said the new facility will provide new employment opportunities for some 320 skilled workers on top of the existing employment base and that there will be benefits to local second tier suppliers with up to 1,200 additional indirect jobs created. This announcement and this action goes against the trend that we have seen in Melbourne’s north and west, as indicated by the member for Gellibrand in her contribution to this adjournment debate about the TCF industries in her seat. Often, I find—and some of the companies have also been automotive parts suppliers—they have followed what appears to be the trend and taken their production offshore. Siemens VDO will be producing automotive products such as electronic instrumentation, climate control systems and body control modules. The site will also house the distribution for their after-market products division, which produces in-car satellite navigation systems, audio instrumentation and sensors for the automotive and marine market systems. In his speech Josef Besting said:

For Siemens VDO in Germany, today’s announcement is proof that the Australian automotive market has a great future ahead of it ...

He went on to say:

... we know from our Australian customers—all part of global players—that they know about the value of their local manufacturing.

This was after the indication of how difficult it is for them to compete against other Asian sites. Zoran Angelkovski indicated that three out of four dollars being invested on new manufacturing plant in the Asian region are being invested in China. I congratulate Siemens VDO on this expression of their faith in the work force of the northern suburbs. It indicates that they acknowledge that in Victoria the state of the economy and the state of industrial relations allow them, as a global player, to make these decisions.

Finally, I express my clear delight at this decision because this represents a flagship development on the Janefield site. The Janefield site became available because of deinstitutionalisation during the Building Better Cities program. We had a frustrating history of inability to put in place investments on that site. First, the Urban and Regional Land Corporation had it for housing. It was then sold to RMIT, which had it zoned for the development of a major technology park. The 104-hectare site was then bought by the MAB Corporation, which have some expertise in similar developments in Camp Road, Broadmeadows and the new quays development at Docklands. I congratulate MAB Corporation and I congratulate the City of Whittlesea for being able to ease the planning problems that surround this size of development, because it is very encouraging that we see this development and future developments that will go on this site, as I said, breaking the trend of losing jobs from the area. With the 323 new jobs and the secondary jobs, this is an important boost to the local economy. I look forward to further announcements that add to this. (Time expired)