The West

Vic premier demands Toyota support


Victorian premier Dennis Napthine will head to Canberra to demand support for workers following the announcement Toyota will close operations.

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been told that the first witnesses will probably be Daniel Morcombe's parents.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine will head to Canberra this afternoon, demanding support for workers following Toyota's announcement it will close down its Melbourne operations.

The demise of the Australian car industry is set to dominate question time with Parliament returning today for the first time this year.

The traditional church service to mark the start of the parliamentary year provided a rare moment of peace and goodwill before what's likely to be a fiery first day back for our federal politicians.

Oh, I don't think the Abbott government has ever fought for a manufacturing job in their life.

Toyota yesterday announced it would shut down its Australian operation at the end of 2017, becoming the last car manufacturer to close its doors following Ford and Holden in 2016 and '17.

This is a difficult day, for the people of Victoria, and the Government of Victoria.

About 2,500 Toyota workers in Victoria will lose their jobs but it's the impact on the wider automotive industry - including car components manufacturers - that has politicians from all states worried.

We're looking at tens of thousands of jobs being lost in this country.

The fear is unless the government gets its act together very quickly, this country is on the road to recession.

Toyota's president blamed factors including the high Australian dollar and manufacturing costs for its decision but Labor blames the Abbott government.

Where the Prime Minister announced in the middle of December there'd be no more money, that was the death knell for Toyota.

The Greens suggest any blame should be spread around.

I raised this with Kim Carr when he was the minister years ago - why are we making cars that Australians don't want to buy.

The Victorian Premier was doing his bit to calm the nerves of Toyota workers, handing out his business card if they have any questions.

And Denis Napthine will have plenty of questions when he meets with the Prime Minister in Canberra this afternoon.

He wants Tony Abbott to fast track major road and rail projects to secure jobs for his state.

That's why I'm going to Canberra, to fight for the workers.

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