Turbulant times in Geelong’s manufactuing sector

2007 was a turbulent year in the Geelong manufacturing industry with a number of companies announcing significant redundancies and in some instances closing altogether.

Alcoa Rolled Products, Bekaert Australia, Goodman Fielder, Geelong Leather, Hendersons Automotive, Coghlan & Russell and Ford Geelong are all recent examples of major job losses across our region.

This year has not had a positive start with the demise of another local manufacturing icon - Brintons Carpets and Ford announcing their intentions to cut further jobs at its Geelong Stamping Plant.

Free trade agreements, drastic tariff reductions, previous federal government neglect and a rising Australian dollar, have all conspired to the detriment of Geelong’s manufacturing industry and its workers.
Various economic studies demonstrate that when job losses of this nature occur, there is also a substantial flow on effect to other workers and economic sectors. For example, some economists have cited studies that show up to 7 jobs in total depend on every core job in an automotive manufacturing plant.

The Geelong automotive industry alone employs almost 3,000 people and injects over $200 million in wages annually into the local community.

It has been estimated that manufacturing currently represents 42% of employment in the Geelong region and accounts for 50% of regional income.

Manufacturing provides decent jobs for many local workers and their families in areas including apprenticeships, trade, engineering, research/development and other highly skilled vocations.