Additional Government Support and Policy Change Needed

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has contributed $15 million to the ‘Geelong Innovation and Investment Fund’, created to provide redundant workers future opportunities in employment. But, is a fund of $24 million in total and a maximum allowable grant of $5 million per proposal, sufficient to attract any new major manufacturing investment into the region?

Why is there no worker representation on the committee that oversees the allocation of grants? What checks and balances are in place to ensure the fund actually delivers on its objective?

A comparable fund of $45 million in Adelaide as reported in the Geelong Advertiser (16/8/07) failed miserably: -

'A TOP South Australian unionist has warned Geelong not to squander a $24 million industry recovery fund. He said a similar South Australian fund flopped…………..……Australian Metal Workers Union (AMWU) South Australian secretary John Camillo said yesterday the comparable fund in his state created the wrong jobs in the wrong industries. He said that two years after the fund was set up, almost 50 per cent of former employees were in casual work and nearly 30 per cent unemployed.'

Surely Geelong Deserves Better!


1. The Geelong Innovation and Investment Fund (GIIF) needs to be upgraded to a meaningful $100 million and there needs to be worker representation on the GIIF Committee. After all, the fund’s main objective is to provide redundant Geelong workers with future opportunities in employment.

2. Additional government funding should be immediately allocated for worker re-training.

3. Government funding is required to facilitate a study on the impact of retrenchment on affected workers, their families and the community.

4. An independent study needs to be funded by the state and federal governments to examine future manufacturing opportunities for Geelong. This study also needs to map the region’s current workers’ skills and formulate a process for any transitional training requirements of any new/incoming industries.

5. Geelong needs to be a priority focus of any future government procurement contracts, including Defence Material Organisation (DMO).

6. Geelong should share in Labor’s green car innovation fund. Geelong’s history and current workforce make it possible for Australia to design, develop, manufacture and export green car technologies/components.

7. An immediate freeze on tariffs is needed and no further Free Trade Agreements, unless they also deliver benefit to manufacturing workers.