The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:09 :09 ): My question is to the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation and Automotive Transformation. Can the minister advise the chamber how many workers have participated in the Automotive Workers in Transition Program to date, and what percentage of participants in the program have been successful in gaining alternative employment?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:09 :43 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. The South Australian government through Our Jobs Plan is providing $7.3 million to assist workers affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing industries throughout South Australia. Holden are providing, as they should, a range of assistance to their workers—the 1,200 or so who are still at Holden—in relation to career guidance, skills recognition and training programs. The state government is providing similar assistance to the automotive supply chain industry, with the $7.3 million Automotive Workers in Transition Program.
The program was originally launched in December 2013 and is operated through the Automotive Transformation Taskforce. I will get updated exact figures in terms of the number of people who have accessed the program. Off the top of my head—and I know that many information sessions have been held—I think it is somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people who have attended information sessions, but I will get for the honourable member the exact number of people. The question is: how many have formally—
The Hon. A.L. McLachlan: Participated and the percentage that have been successfully employed.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The number that have participated in the program and the percentage who have been successful. I certainly will get further information about that. One thing I can say is that I know one thing that we are determined to do is to make sure that the programs change to meet the changing needs as we get closer to the closure of Holden at the end of 2017.
The state government recently approved changes to the Automotive Supplier Diversification Program, the program that provides grants to supply chain companies that are looking to diversify and do something different outside the auto industry, including things like food manufacturing, medical devices, transport and logistics. The state government has recently approved changes also to the Automotive Workers in Transition Program to make sure that it is meeting the needs of changing circumstances.
I outlined to the chamber in recent weeks that spouses and partners of registered workers will now be able to register for the program to access career advice and mentoring and how to access training and other support services. The government has also expanded eligible expenses so that automotive supply chain workers will be able to access funding for vocational licences or for travel to get to a new workplace or a training location. The state government has also extended the time frame workers have to access the support package. A fixed date of 30 June has been set for eligible participants to register for the program.
Also, for the first time, eligible labour hire personnel in automotive manufacturing supply chain companies may now be eligible to register for the program. It is certainly a program that a number of people have been interested in. I know from my experience attending quite a range of automotive supply chain companies over the last 12 months, from some of the big multinational companies to some of the smaller ones, like ZF Lemforder, Hirotech, Futuris and others, that a lot of individuals working in automotive supply chain companies haven’t necessarily turned their mind to what happens at the end of 2017, but I know that more are now. So certainly we are increasing our efforts and also increasing how we capture people and make sure they are involved. But as to the exact numbers, I will seek a reply and bring back an answer.See full session on Hansard