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Job Network ready to help retrenched Mitsubishi workers.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release 25/06/2004

Job Network ready to help retrenched Mitsubishi workers

JOB Network is ready to help Mitsubishi workers who take voluntary redundancy following the company’s restructure.

The Australian Government’s $10 million labour adjustment package will help not only those workers taking voluntary redundancies from Tonsley Park but all workers at Mitsubishi’s Lonsdale Plant, which is due to close by October 2005.

Workers of Mitsubishi’s suppliers who are made redundant as a result of Mitsubishi’s restructure will also be helped.

All affected workers will receive immediate access to retraining, job search training and advice, counselling, access to vacancies, equipment and assistance and access to the Job Seeker Account - with an extra supplement of $450 for each worker.

Job Network members can also offer wage subsidies of up to $4,000 to employers who offer affected workers a job. Relocation assistance is also available for workers who want to relocate within South Australia or interstate to take up a full time job.

Other help includes:

• Self employment assistance for workers who want to start their own business (under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme - NEIS);.

• Self Employment (Non NEIS eligible businesses) — small business training may be offered to workers who want to start their own business if the business does not meet NEIS eligibility.

• Industry specific training— funding will be provided where a group of Mitsubishi workers take training with another employer.

• Australian Job Search Facilities— There will be two hi-tech touch screen kiosks and telephones on site at the Lonsdale site so Mitsubishi workers can look for work and contact prospective employers.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Why is this assistance package available?

The Australian Government recognises that the number of workers to whom Mitsubishi plans to offer voluntary redundancy at the Tonsley Park plant and who will lose their jobs with the closure of the Lonsdale plant is large for a labour market the size of South Australia’s. This labour adjustment package, coupled with the $40 million investment package, will assist these workers find employment more quickly.

Is Mitsubishi closing?

No. Mitsubishi will continue to have a large presence in South Australia with a $600 million investment in a new locally produced model. However, Mitsubishi have announced that as part of its global restructuring it plans to offer voluntary redundancies at its Tonsley Park site from June 2004 and close its engine plant at Lonsdale by October 2005.

How many workers will be affected?

Mitsubishi advise they currently plan to offer in the order of 350 voluntary redundancies at the Tonsley Park site. There are around 670 workers at the Lonsdale Plant who will leave progressively before the plant closes in October 2005.

Is it only Mitsubishi workers?

No. Employees of suppliers who are made redundant as a result of the restructuring of Mitsubishi’s manufacturing operations and register with a Job Network member within six months are also eligible for assistance.

Is it only $10 million?

No. The labour adjustment package of $10 million is part of a larger package. A further $40 million will be provided to boost investment in South Australia and create new job opportunities.

What will the $10 million be spent on?

It will enable Job Network members to help individual workers. A kit has been prepared for workers explaining the full range of assistance to them.

Is there a time limit to the assistance?

Eligible workers must register with a Job Network member within six months of being made redundant. Assistance will be available until workers find another job. Access to Relocation Assistance must be within 26 weeks of starting a new job in the new location.

How are workers being told of the package?

Workers at Tonsley Park will be informed when they accept their voluntary redundancy. Those wishing to take advantage of the package will register with Centrelink while still at Tonsley Park and be referred to a Job Network member of their choice. While arrangements are still being finalised with Mitsubishi, it is likely workers at Lonsdale will have access to Job Network members on site. These Lonsdale workers will begin working with Job Network members while still employed at Mitsubishi.

For media inquiries, contact

Felicity Dargan Press Secretary 0409 550 446

For information only: Nicky Govan (08) 8306 8770; Jennifer Taylor (02) (02) 6121 6186