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General Motors Holden

General Motors Holden closes down – time to get real

John Hewison
Founder and Director
12 Dec 2013

Yes it’s a shame that General Motors (GM) is pulling out of Australia and I am totally sympathetic to those employed in the motor vehicle industry.

The first reaction by the government opposition and the media is to blame the government. What absolute nonsense this is and does nothing to address the real issues that will support the individuals who are directly affected.

The reality is that governments in the developed world have been spending billions of dollars for decades supporting non-profitable motor vehicle production industries against opposition from low labour cost countries like Malaysia, Korea and Taiwan. Watch this space – China is about to take over the market worldwide!

General Motors is a US owned company. It had to be bailed out by the US government to avoid bankruptcy in 2008/09. Remember the US car manufacturing CEOs flying into Washington in their private jets looking for a handout?

Detroit, the former motor car capital of the world is now a ghost town. The giant US car production industry is in crisis and under intense competition from Asian produced brands.
If the US can’t compete at home, what chance does Australia have? Why do we think a US company would want to prop up a high cost manufacturing outpost like Australia when it can’t sustain itself?

The fact is that Australia has no credentials as a motor vehicle manufacturer. So let’s cut out the bickering and get on with the solution.

The Australian government must now look to developing industries where we can compete and excel. We must target our training and development specifically to industries that can survive – and thrive – in a sustainable environment.

Some industries that come to mind are agriculture and food production, government developed but privately funded infrastructure projects, bio-chemistry, financial services, tourism, to name just a few.

As an aside, how can it be that we are importing skilled labour on 457 temporary visas on the grounds that we have insufficient available locally? Am I missing something? Surely this is as good starting point for the re-training of GM employees?

It’s important to take a step back and acknowledge that Australian salaries and work conditions are amongst the best in the world and obscenely generous compared to many other nations.

It’s time we were honest about how our economy is changing, review where there are opportunities and what changes are required to ensure we have strong employment for generations to come.

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.