Socialist Alliance: Nationalise Ford to save jobs, retool for environment

May 22, 2013
Re-tool the car industry for public transport vehicles and renewable energy.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on May 23.


Ford's announcement that it will close its last vehicle manufacturing plants in Australia — in Geelong and Broadmeadows — destroying 1200 jobs is "totally despicable", said Sue Bull, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Corio, "especially as this giant multinational has collected huge public subsidies year after year supposedly to save jobs".

"The Australian people have been played for suckers," said Bull, a long-time Geelong resident, socialist and trade union activist who received 10,000 votes when she ran for Geelong Mayor last year.

"Socialist Alliance says enough of this billion-dollar racket.

"The remaining Ford plants should be immediately nationalised and the industry re-tooled to manufacture public transport vehicles, electric cars and infrastructure for a rapid shift to renewable energy.

"And the federal government should probably anticipate and pre-empt a similar move by General Motors-Holden and Toyota.

"Workers in the car industry have the skills and expertise in logistics, production engineering, designing for production and quality control that could be applied to production which helps us break from a fossil fuel-dependent economy. This is urgently needed to address the climate change crisis.

"The plants can be re-tooled to produce wind turbines and other equipment for renewable energy production, as well as trams, trains and other vehicles and infrastructure for a sustainable transport system."

Bull said that the total amount of subsidies Ford — and the other big car companies like General Motors-Holden and Toyota — received from federal and state governments over years was a "closely-guarded state secret".

"Attempts by the media to get this information through freedom of information laws have been turned down but it probably is worth billions in today's dollar terms," she added.

"The trade union movement should stop tailing behind the Lib-Lab bi-partisan policy of subsidising car company profits. Instead, the unions should demand that the public's money be invested protecting jobs and building a just and environmentally sustainable future."

Socialist Alliance says:

● End the corporate welfare, nationalise the car industry and re-tool it for the manufacture of public transport vehicles and infrastructure for a rapid shift to renewable energy and a low carbon transport system.

● No cuts to wages, hours or conditions — for a just transition to sustainable employment.


The departure of Ford from local manufacturing is more emblematic than relatively problematic, In my opinion. The supply chain for components has been contracting proportional to sales volume here for nearly a decade now, & much more is sourced from South East Asia now than previously, putting question to what actually comprises the true Australian Car.. We've known for 20 years that we need to revolutionise our manufacturing sector & aim at high tech niche industries, but we continue to fail on this path through an antiquated education system & short sighted political policies. The Ford facilities include a ferrous casting plant, a large scale injection moulding plant, large scale sheet metal forming plant, production machining shop & assembly lines. All this is salvageable/reuseable for other vehicle projects. A great deal of dedicated tooling & patterns, robot EOAT & computer software/hardware isnt, & will remain the property of Ford. Certainly I'd love to see a Co-operative based enterprise for Electric vehicle production emerge from the ashes of the Ford demise. Maybe the Falcon line would suit a smaller passenger car & the Territory line a minibus.. One thing is certain - any future plans need to be put in place now. It takes several years to develop a modern vehicle & set it in production..

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