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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 134

Mr CHAMPION (Wakefield) (16:18): On 13 January this year Holden announced their closure date of 20 October. While we expected a date to be announced, these announcements are always shocking to those in the local community and to the workforce. I want to make a few observations in a nonpartisan way. We have to remember that 30,000 vehicles will be built before manufacturing at the plant ends. That is a massive tribute to the workforce at Holden, who have been subject on more than one occasion to comments in this parliament and in newspapers about their work ethic and their professionalism.

One of the things I want to report to the House is that, at the moment, the Holden Elizabeth operation is achieving a 96 per cent right-first-time quality rate, which puts it in the top five per cent of General Motors manufacturing plants around the world—the top five per cent globally. This is a tribute to the workforce of Elizabeth, to their professionalism, to their work ethic and to their commitment to the brand. I have to say that I am terribly proud of them, and Australia should be too.

One of the saddest things you have to do as a local member is assist people through times of redundancy. I have done it as a union official and as a local member. I have been down to the Holden Transition Centre, which, somewhat ironically, is in the old employment office where I and others used to go to apply for a job at Holden. I was unsuccessful, but many of my mates were not. The transition centre is helping workers as they leave the plant. I thank Ashley Winnett, Jamie Getgood, Sally Renshaw, Toni Frost and the rest of the transition team for their efforts, because 70 per cent of employees who have left Holden have been successful in gaining employment within 12 months of leaving. That is a very good figure. The transition centre is doing all it can to nurse people—to help people—through what is one of the most traumatic things that anybody can go through: a period of redundancy.

I wish them continued good luck in finding the Holden workforce work. We know it will get more difficult as time gets on. We know that the government needs to respond more fully to the enormous dislocation that is going to go on in the South Australian, Victorian and national economies as these workers find themselves unemployed. I commend to the House the idea that the government should be more fully involved. (Time expired)