THE decline in car manufacturing in Australia isn’t just about Broadmeadows, or Geelong, or Altona or Elizabeth.
It is also directly affecting Ballarat.
As Australians buy more imported cars instead of those built in Australia, Mapal Australia managing director Laurence Treadwell said it was directly leading to job losses here.
Ford announced it would cease building cars in Australia from 2016, causing about 1200 workers to lose their jobs in Geelong and Broadmeadows.
The futures of Holden and Toyota in Australia are also under scrutiny, with job losses at each.
Mr Treadwell said the fallout went far beyond the car manufacturers themselves.
“If Holden then Toyota follow Ford it will be devastating. It will have wider implications,” he said.
“If there’s no car industry, there is still a need for support for mining infrastructure and farming in Australia – but the automotive sector is the biggest.
“I’d estimate for every job that is lost in car manufacturing, it directly impacts seven other jobs. Speaking for us, 80 per cent of our product was made either directly or indirectly for the automotive sector. It was that important to us.
“You need critical mass and, as manufacturing gets smaller it gets harder to source things locally. So you get this cascade effect where each loss means losses elsewhere.”
Mapal Australia’s factory in Alfredton will close its doors at the end of the month. The company will continue as a retailer and will still have its national head office in Ballarat.
Mr Treadwell said his main concern was for other manufacturing businesses in the city.
He said he believed government support for the car industry should be a given, and the country could not rely on mining for its future.
“The cost (of job losses) would have to be exponentially more than any assistance package industry might be getting from government,” he said.
“As the (domestic) car market declined we looked at what we could do for the mining sector, supplying to the miners themselves, along with their second- and third-tier suppliers.
“This year alone we had a 60 per cent drop off because of mining turning off their spending.
“We were travelling okay before March this year but when the election was announced it just dried up.”