By XAVIER SMERDON
ALL SIX councils from across the western suburbs have united in a desperate bid to try and stop the region from losing more jobs.
Melbourne’s West Economic Response Taskforce was recently formed and met for the first time earlier this month with representatives from Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Wyndham and Moonee Valley attending.
CEO of western suburbs advocacy group LeadWest, Craig Rowley, said the Taskforce was formed as a reaction to the end of motor vehicle manufacturing in the West.
He said that following Ford’s closure announcement in 2013, the Federal and State Government’s established funding to be applied over three years in recognition of the economic and social of the economic and social impact of the closure on communities in Geelong and Melbourne’s North.
“Taskforce representatives from LeadWest and the local governments of Melbourne’s West unanimously agreed that fair and equitable treatment is a must,” Mr Rowley said.
“The Taskforce will formally request that the Australian and Victorian Government deliver a significant and comprehensive adjustment package to be applied in Melbourne’s West.
“This would be on par with how Geelong and Melbourne’s North were helped.”
Mr Rowley said the Taskforce would also try to help people that had lost their jobs to find new employment opportunities.
“The Taskforce will help facilitate a successful transition from jobs exited at Toyota, Ford and Holden into other jobs and sectors,” he said.
“It will also have an eye to the longer term and redouble efforts to grow and diversify the economy of Melbourne’s West so there are improved job opportunities closer to where people live.”
In February Toyota announced that it would stop making cars in Australia by 2017, with the loss of 2500 jobs.
The announcement came after last year’s announcements that Ford will cease production in October 2016 and Holden would stop by 2017.
It is expected that more than 50,000 jobs could be lost in the automotive manufacturing industry, with many of those jobs coming from Melbourne’s West.