What’s go­ing on round the Bend?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

WE MAKE no apolo­gies for to­day’s dou­ble-page spread on GM Holden. Some peo­ple have ac­cused us of be­ing bi­ased, par­tic­u­larly when we point out Ford’s fail­ings with its lo­cally made Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory, but a lot of peo­ple want to know what’s re­ally hap­pen­ing at Fish­er­mans Bend.

Holden has sur­vived the gi­ant purge that came when Gen­eral Motors filed in the US for Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy, but there is a lot more to come than a mere ‘‘jobs are safe’’ dec­la­ra­tion.

Mark Reuss (right) has done a great job since he be­came chair- man. He makes a lot of sense as he talks about ev­ery­thing from the fu­ture of the Com­modore to the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion at Holden.

But he re­ally gets riled if you ask about the need for a car in­dus­try in Aus­tralia and the sup­port the in­dus­try gets from Can­berra.

‘‘We pay $420 mil­lion a year in R&D (re­search and de­vel­op­ment) . . . cre­ate al­most 7000 jobs and we pay wages of $500 bil­lion back into the econ­omy ev­ery year,’’ Reuss says.

‘‘We make Com­modore here and we pay a lot of wages here and we ac­tu­ally cre­ate a tax ba­sis for the in­dus­try. That’s what man­u­fac­tur­ing’s all about, it’s about mak­ing things.’’

He said he wasn’t sure it was looked at in the right way. It was a rein­vest­ment in the scheme of things to make sure jobs paid back into the Aus­tralian tax ba­sis.

‘‘It gets re­ally neg­a­tively re­ported, un­for­tu­nately, by peo­ple who don’t re­ally un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics of how the busi­ness cre­ates value in Aus­tralia. It cre­ates huge value,’’ he says.

‘‘If you don’t make cars and you don’t make wages, and peo­ple don’t make liv­ings, you can’t re­ally buy things.’’

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