MEMBER for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says local car and components dealers could be affected by Toyota’s announcement that it will stop building cars in Australia in 2017.
“When a car manufacturer announces they will stop making cars in Australia there is a drop off in sales and that does affect our local dealerships,” she said.
“That does affect our local community.”
But Toyota Australia media and external affairs manager Beck Angel said the company wasn’t anticipating a drop in sales in response to today’s announcement.
“There will be no impact on our dealerships and that includes Bendigo,” she said.
“There will be no change from a customer perspective; customers will still be able to purchase cars and have them serviced and get new parts.”
Some 2500 of the 4000 workers employed by Toyota locally will lose their jobs, and hundreds more positions are expected to go in the components sector and other related supplies industries.
Australian Industry Group Victoria director Tim Piper said the job losses would have a flow-on effect to sectors across the state.
"The ramifications ... will have an impact on all of our economy in Victoria across the board," he said.
Ms Chesters said the Abbott government’s lack of assistance to the car industry was to blame for Toyota’s decision.
“It was the Abbott government that scrapped a vital investment in Holden that triggered the local companies to consider their long-term viability of manufacturing in Australia,” she said.
“Prior to the election last year we still had a car manufacturing industry; after yesterday’s announcement we don’t.”
Ms Chesters said the government had to focus on finding Toyota workers new jobs.
“Tony Abbott says, ‘They’ll just get another job’,” she said.
“Obviously it’s been a while since Tony Abbott had to look for a job.”
Bendigo Toyota would not comment on the announcement.