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Toyota announcement - Ai Group Comment

"The announcement by Toyota of a final date for its involvement in auto assembly in Australia will subtract significant dimensions from Australia's advanced manufacturing capabilities. However, manufacturing remains strong in Australia and there is considerable cause for optimism in the industry's long-term future," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The closure of Toyota's involvement in auto assembly will mark the end of an era and although it is clearly sad for all concerned the move has been flagged for some time.

"There remains a lot of work to be done in the industry transition processes in which Ai Group is closely involved and all three big auto companies are doing an excellent job in supporting and retraining workers.

"It needs to remembered that our car assemblers have been pivotal points in complex supply chains that directly engage with over 200 high-value local components makers plus countless more local supplier businesses. These businesses are a valuable resource as are the 30,000 people (3% of all manufacturing employment) still employed in automotive parts manufacturing, assembly and associated supply chains.  Many of these employees are in technical, trades and professional roles and they have valuable technical and business knowledge that should not be lost to our community. The transition efforts of these companies should not be punished by imposing an unfair FBT burden on the companies' retraining efforts.

"Manufacturing itself has seen significant growth in key areas over the past year, helped particularly by a lower dollar, and we have every reason to be optimistic about the sector's future. This has been reflected both in official data and Ai Group’s Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (the Australian PMI®) which has improved markedly over the past couple of years and is currently enjoying a four-month run in positive territory.

"Given the emphasis on manufacturing in other major economies, including the US and the UK, Federal and State governments here need to take very clear steps to create an environment to allow manufacturing to grow as a key part of our economy.

"Toyota, Holden and Ford all have very strong futures here and will continue to employ significant numbers of Australian workers in the post auto-assembly environment," Mr Willox said.

Media Enquiries:  Tony Melville 0419 190 347