Victorian Premier Denis Napthine wants 'substantial' help for Holden workers

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has asked for a “substantial” assistance package from the federal government to help workers affected by Holden's decision to close its Australian operations.

Mr Napthine also says he is “more than willing” to provide money to ensure that Toyota's Victorian operations remain viable.

“I've just come from a meeting with the Prime Minister where I've taken directly to [him] the feelings of workers,” Mr Napthine said in Canberra.

“We need a substantial transition and assistance package for Victoria.”

Mr Napthine said he was not looking for "subsidies" from the federal government but was after something more like a “partnership.”

But it was “too early” to put a dollar figure on what kind of money that partnership would spend, he said.

The news comes after Holden's dramatic decision on Wednesday to close its Australian operations by the end of 2017.

The decision threw Australia's entire car-making industry into doubt.

It means nearly 3000 workers will lose their jobs directly, with 1300 to go in Victoria and 2900 to go from the car manufacturing plant in South Australia.

It also means the Japanese car giant Toyota is the last remaining car manufacturer in Australia.

The Abbott government and the federal opposition have been blaming each other for Holden's decision to leave the country.

Mr Napthine said today that, in discussions with the Prime Minister Abbott, Mr Abbott seemed “fully aware” of the impact that Holden's decision will have on the manufacturing industry, including on the supply chain and service industries.

There are more than 30,000 people employed in the automotive components sector.

Mr Napthine also suggested that auto industry workers who are in wage negotiations at the moment ought to think carefully about the need for industry to remain flexible.

Mr Abbott has spoken to the head Toyota about keeping the company in Australia.

Mr Napthine said he spoke with Toyota executives yesterday, and will be having further discussions with them next week.

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