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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1684

Mr CHAMPION (10:02 PM) —Today the Prime Minister drove the first Australian made Holden Cruze off the line at General Motors Holden Elizabeth, and more than 1,000 staff attended this very important launch. It is a great day for Holden, it is a great day for Elizabeth and it is a great day for all of those workers at the Holden plant.

Of course we know that this would never have happened without the government’s $149 million investment as part of our new car plan, as part of our green car fund. It is a great investment that has brought real benefits for workers at Holden and real benefits for Australia because we have this brand new Cruze car, which was the seventh most popular car sold in 2010. We know that it is part of the Delta platform, which is an international car platform. The Cruze can be adapted to alternative fuel mechanisms like LNG, compressed natural gas and E85. It will be able to accommodate hybrid and electric drivetrains, so it is a very important addition to the Holden factory. Holden also make the Commodore down in General Motors at Elizabeth.

Today there were many important guests: Mike Devereux, the Chairman and Managing Director of GM Holden, Martyn Cray, the executive director of manufacturing at GM Holden, the Prime Minister, Premier Rann, Minister Carr and Ian Jones from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. I would have dearly liked to have attended if I had been paired in this place, but such is the nature of the opposition that they refused me a chance to attend this very important event in the life of my constituency and the life of my constituents.

Holden is at the heart of Elizabeth, it is at the heart of my electorate. One in four workers in the city of Playford is employed in manufacturing. It is an incredibly important part of our local economy. It is an important part of South Australia’s economy. We know there are a lot of people out there who talk us down, talk manufacturing down. They say there is no future in it. They were saying that in years gone by, but today, a day where we have launched a new small car, part of a global General Motors platform, we know that we are turning the nay-sayers’ nay-saying upside down. These are very important events for Elizabeth and for jobs in South Australia.

With regard to jobs, there are some 60,000 workers who are employed across the country in automotive manufacturing. I know that Holden has about 4½ thousand. This new car has helped create an extra 265 jobs at the factory. It has helped to support the workforce in a time of economic crisis around the world. The workers down there at Holden made a number of sacrifices—going to one shift, working week-on week-off shifts in order to keep the whole workforce down there employed—to make sure that people continued to get work through the global financial crisis. It was that sacrifice and the arrangements they made through their enterprise bargaining agreement that ensured that not only did they win the new car contract, but also that the plant is well-positioned to be able to export to America. We know that Holden is already a proven supplier of exports to America, and we hope in the future to be able to supply police fleets in America, which is a niche export market. It is incredibly important for us to secure an export market. We know that North American law-enforcement fleets already account for about 70,000 sales a year, so it is a pretty lucrative market to get into. We hope that the sacrifices made by workers down at the plant have helped.

I have to commend at the union led by Paul Brown, the senior shop steward, John Gee and John Camillo for leading the union in this pretty difficult time and coming through it at the other end, being able to see this new car roll off the line. We hope in the future there are more successful exports into America and more successful cars for our own domestic market. I certainly wish the union and Holden all the success in the future.