South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill has urged General Motors to make a financial contribution to the northern Adelaide suburb at the core of Holden’s looming shutdown.
Mr Weatherill, who held talks with the American automotive giant last week, was reported to have pressed the company to give the state a $5 million “community fund” as an “act of goodwill”.
The fund would provide relief to Holden workers in the Elizabeth area, where Holden vehicles have been made for decades.
The Elizabeth factory is due to close its doors in 2017, leaving more than 1,000 people out of work.
Mr. Weatherill said he sought assurances from GM regarding the treatment of the community and its workers.
” The message I gave them is that they’ve got to look after workers, they’ve got to look after the local community and also the state,” said Mr Weatherill.
“Now we want them to do the right thing. We’ve made a big contribution to this company over the years and we, we expect something back and we, we got good answers on a number of these issues.”
South Australia already has the highest unemployment rate in Australia, at 6.8 of the labour force.
On the issue of workers’ rights, Mr. Weatherill said GM had pledged “world’s best practice” regarding redundancies.
He said workers would be given time off to find other work and to seek training.
Those who leave Holden early and found employment elsewhere would still qualify for a substantial part of the redundancy payment they would have received if they had stayed.