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GM Closure Ends Australia’s Car Manufacturing Industry

GM Closure Ends Australia’s Car Manufacturing IndustryGM Closure Ends Australia’s Car Manufacturing Industry

Australia’s near 100-year automotive industry ended on Friday as GM Holden Ltd, a unit of US carmaker General Motors Co., closed its plant in South Australia to move manufacturing to cheaper locations.

The closure comes a year after Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co. similarly moved out, eliminating thousands of manufacturing jobs. It adds pressure on the government to help those made redundant find work in a battleground state ahead of a federal election in 18 months, Reuters reported.

 “The end of Holden making cars in Australia is a very sad day for the workers and for every Australian. It is the end of an era,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters at a regular briefing on Friday. “Everyone has a Holden story.”

Turnbull has sought to soften the impact of a declining automotive industry in a state which historically determines who forms government by making South Australia a defense industry hub.

The government plans to increase defense spending by nearly A$30 billion ($23.52 billion) by 2022, with the manufacture of a fleet of frigates, armored personnel carriers and submarines to be concentrated in South Australia.

But John Camillo, ýstate secretary at Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union in South Australia, said nearly 2,500 newly unemployed will need government help finding work.

 “They need to be retrained to be able to work in defense, mining, aerospace, because we are going to be building ships,” Camillo told reporters outside the GM Holden plant in Elizabeth, 26 kilometers (16.1 miles) north of state capital Adelaide.

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