Economy

Toyota finally shuts its doors in Victoria

Toyota finally shuts its doors in Victoria”

The pain from Toyota's long-awaited Australian exit is forecast to stretch far beyond the vehicle manufacturer's 2,600 out-of-work employees.

While the local Camry has reached the end of the line, the difference will barely be noticed in showrooms.

"Toyota became the top automobile manufacturer in Australia", Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner told close to 3,000 employees at the closure of the Altona plant in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Ballarat-based OzPress, for example, was "95 per cent Toyota", owner Mark Dwyer said.

"We've gone from 30 people to five", he said."We'll keep going in a small way and, hopefully, rebuild over time".

Ford ceased production in Victoria's Geelong after 91 years last year.

General Motors is is also planning to shut its South Australia plant on October 20, marking the end of all vehicle manufacturing in Australia.

As with Holden and Ford, Toyota has been running job search programs for the past three years and paying for retraining.

Newly unemployed Toyota workers are optimistic but concerned about the future.

"It's not going to be easy, but we've already got a reference from Toyota".

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the auto industry was a crucial part of the Australia's advanced manufacturing industry and Toyota workers were "betrayed" by the federal government's failure to value the sector.

"Today our thoughts go out to Toyota's proud workforce, their families and those in the supply chain who are feeling the impacts of this closure", he said.

Tony Ashamalla, 62, the manager of Toyota's Altona plant for the past six years, said it was a sad day for its 2600 workers but praised the company's efforts to help them find new jobs.

About 260 workers have indicated they will retire while 130 will be re-deployed in other parts of the company.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the loss of the auto industry "did not have to happen", but the move was forced when the government stopped financially supporting vehicle markers.

The date, the Victorian Government has invested more than $100 million in targeted assistance for the automotive and manufacturing industries.

"The manufacturers who have progressively closed their operations in Australia have made it clear it is not because of a failure of government subsidies, it's because of changes in market taste", Turnbull said.



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