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Ford has no right to destroy the lives of Geelong families

Ford’s decision to close down its Geelong engine plant will have a catastrophic effect on Geelong. It’s not just the 600 jobs at Ford that will be lost but hundreds of jobs in the car components factories and in various supply companies will go too. The flow-on effect could mean that up to 2400 jobs could be lost in Geelong.

Socialist Alliance senate candidate and local resident Jeremy Smith slammed Ford’s decision to close the plant. “Ford and other car companies have been propped up with millions of dollars of government subsidies over decades,” said Smith.

“There is a public interest issue at stake here because taxpayers money and workers’ lives are involved. The future of 600 workers’ families should not be a decision left purely to the shareholders,” said Smith.

“Governments can’t just throw up their hands and say there is nothing they can do because it is up to private companies to decide how to invest. If a few more companies decide to close down after Ford, Geelong would be devastated.”

Smith called on the state and federal governments to reveal exactly how much public money has been given to Ford over the years and to do something effective about the closure because the manufacturing industry in Geelong is at stake.

“It’s fine for the Victorian and federal governments plus Ford to set up a $24 million fund to create new jobs and investment in Geelong. But where will that money really go? To fund more redundancies, provide more subsidies, give more incentives to businesses? It should be used to provide alternative jobs on the same site, using the same factory. Workers don’t want redundancies; they want permanent, secure jobs.

Smith said, “We’re not calling for governments to give more subsidies to Ford. Experience shows they just pocket the money and then carry out sackings anyway. The Ford factory in Geelong was retooled during World War Two to produce tanks and tugboats. That means that the factory could be retooled again to produce something else. Why couldn’t the government compulsorily acquire the land where the Ford plant is situated and retool it to produce fast trains or components for windmills or other socially useful things?

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Jeremy Smith 0429-334-938 or Sue Bull 0407-096-996

1 Com:

Dave Bath | July 20, 2007

LeftClick: I put forward an idea for the 24 million here. It might sound trivial, but I think most of Geelong would think it a great idea, and the economics doesn't look too bad either.

BTW: Hope the Haneef rally is successful.

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