The Australian subsidiary of US car maker General Motors (GM) was asking the coalition government for an extra A$150 million (R1.4 billion) a year to keep manufacturing, a former industry minister said yesterday.
GM Holden is in a secret, high-stakes game of brinkmanship with Prime Minister Tony Abbott over its future in Australia. Abbott declared last week that no more money was on the table and that “not even governments have an endless supply of money to prop up businesses which are inefficient and unprofitable”.
Canberra has promised A$1 billion a year in subsidies to the two remaining automotive manufacturers, GM and Toyota, and more cash if certain benchmarks are met.
Ford decided to wind up its manufacturing operations in Australia earlier this year. Mitsubishi left in 2008.
Kim Carr, the industry minister in the Labour government that lost office at the September parliamentary election, said “hundreds of families are about to be sacrificed on the altar of economic fundamentalism” because Abbott would not stump up an extra A$150m a year.
Last week The Australian newspaper reported that Detroit-based GM had already decided to shut its manufacturing plant in Adelaide and was only holding off on an announcement to spread the write-downs on its balance sheet. The Allen Consulting Group claimed that per capita assistance, at A$18 a year, was “a very low figure by international standards”. – Sapa-dpa