After 91 years of manufacturing almost half a million vehicles in Geelong, today is a very emotional day for Ford employees and suppliers, their families and the broader Geelong community.
I pay tribute to the incredible contribution that the Ford Motor Company and its workforce have played in our community.
Last week, the last V8 and 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engines rolled off the production line in Geelong. Today, the last Ford Falcon XRX will roll off the production line in Broadmeadows.
It’s important to reiterate that while this is the end of a manufacturing era, it is not the end of manufacturing for Ford in Geelong.
Local manufacturers building Ford export business
For instance, the Turnbull Government’s Automobile Diversification Program (ADP), part of our $155m Growth Fund, has contributed $550,000 towards new laser cutters and 3D printers to support Backwell IXL’s manufacture of car components for Ford’s global market.
Backwell IXL, based in South Geelong, is now exporting over $1m in Ford Everest and Ford Ranger under body car components to Thailand, China, South Africa and Argentina.
Across the country, 19 Australian based suppliers have been successful in earning business within Ford’s global operations. (Editor’s note: not all companies will export, some will manufacture offshore). Geelong’s Backwell IXL and Carbon Revolution, which is producing carbon fibre wheels for the Ford’s Shelby Mustang GT350 in the United States, are great local examples of our export success.
The future of Ford in Geelong
Ford will continue to play an important role in our community into the future, employing around 500 people at the proving ground and at Ford’s Research and Development Centre (RDC). I am delighted that Ford will be re-deploying permanently 67 people from its manufacturing operations and will also extend the jobs of some 80 people from Geelong who will be re-located to work on prototype development at the RDC until June 2017.
Advanced manufacturing a key focus of the Turnbull Government
The Turnbull Government has invested heavily in building a strong and competitive Australian based advanced manufacturing sector. Our focus is on creating the right policies and economic framework to drive manufacturing investment, jobs growth and innovation. We are helping Australian manufacturing by:
- Delivering $30m towards the $54.5m Geelong Region and Investment Fund and Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund creating over 1300 jobs, including 840 jobs across the Geelong and Corangamite regions;
- Delivering the $155m Growth Fund (incl the ADP & Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Program);
- Delivering the $248m Industry Growth centres including the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre with the main node being based in Geelong;
- Delivering the $50m Manufacturing Transition Program;
- Abolishing the carbon tax which was costing manufacturing $1.1 billion a year;
- Cutting the company tax rate;
- Cutting around $4.5 billion in red tape so far; and
- Investing in building a home grown Australian defence industry, which is already boosting confidence in the advanced manufacturing sector
Since being elected in September 2013, the Turnbull Government has provided close to $40m to support local manufacturers and job creation programs including $15m for the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund, $14m for an Advanced Manufacturing Industry Growth Centre and $3.1m to the Geelong Region Job Connections program.
Our government’s $20m Jobs and Investment Package is another way in which we are helping to drive local jobs growth, along with our $300m Building Better Regions Fund.
Whether it’s supporting advanced manufacturing, delivering small business tax cuts, building better transport infrastructure or investing billions in an Australian defence industry, our government is working extremely hard to grow jobs and build a stronger economy.
7 October 2016