The federal government has moved to ensure global car giant General Motors “doesn’t see another cent in taxpayer support” after its decision to wind up the Holden brand in Australia.
Before Monday’s Senate inquiry into the retirement of the Holden Brand, Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said more than $1 million in payments had been stopped after GM Holden was deregistered from the Automotive Transformation Scheme.
“I, like most Australians, was extremely disappointed at GM Holden’s decision to walk away from our country, their local workers and loyal dealers,” Ms Andrews said.
“Australian taxpayers have given this multinational company more than $2 billion in financial assistance over recent years, and it still decided without consultation to wind up the Holden brand in Australia.
“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a single Australian who thinks GM Holden should receive financial support from the federal government in the same year they announced they’re leaving our shores.”
The ATS reimburses eligible investment in research and development, and plant and equipment.
The decision to deregister GM was made on the basis that Holden’s activities would no longer encourage competitive investment and innovation in the Australian automotive industry, the government said.
It reflects the loss to automotive research and development in Australia, including GM design and engineering teams and the closure of GM Holden’s Lang Lang Proving Ground and Port Melbourne design studio.
Holden’s decision to close the brand was announced in February with the company saying it had explored every avenue to keep its operations afloat.
At the time the company employed about 800 people and about 600 of them, mostly engineers, management and administrative staff, were to be made redundant.
About 1.6 million Holden vehicles remain on Australian roads, with GM committed to ensuring the supply of replacement parts for at least 10 years and honouring all warranty and service arrangements.