The demise of Australia’s car manufacturing industry was always inevitable, but even I have been surprised at the pace with which Ford, GM Holden and now Toyota have announced their plans to cease production in Australia. While the plant closures will have significant impacts in some regions, particularly Geelong, Melbourne’s western suburbs and Elizabeth, SA, the overall macroeconomic impact should be small and I expect minimal flow-on impacts to Queensland.
Jobs at risk in Queensland due to plant closures down South would mostly be in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing sub-sector, particularly jobs in businesses in the supply chains of the car manufacturers. According to the Automotive Environmental Scan 2013 (p. 32), there were 7,500 people employed in this sub-sector in Queensland in June 2012, which is only around 0.3% of all employed persons in Queensland. Even if half these jobs were lost, it would be hard to distinguish the impact on the unemployment rate from the usual noise you get in the data.
My previous posts on Australia’s car industry have included: