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Analysis and Comment (20)

Flexible work practices: for employees or employers? Flexible work practices: for employees or employers? Tracey Nearmy/AAPImage

Workplace ‘flexibility’ on insecure ground

If you were to choose one buzzword that, despite its vagueness, has dominated industrial relations debate over three decades, it would be “flexibility”. It has emerged again in rhetoric surrounding Toyota’s…
Prefab housing is an industry that shares many assembly methods with car manufacturing. Prefab housing is an industry that shares many assembly methods with car manufacturing. Code_martial/Flickr

Building a housing industry from the relics of a car industry

Unless you have been living under a rock, you couldn’t help but hear the dying wail of manufacturing here in Australia. Car manufacturing and food manufacturing being the most recent victims. There’s no…
Workers who lost jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks have faced mixed fortunes. Workers who lost jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks have faced mixed fortunes. AAP/Dean Lewins

The story of steel maps the job future for car workers

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is right when he describes Australia’s car industry workers as “highly skilled people, adaptable people”. He has also been saying this week that the departure of Toyota and Holden…
Efficient manufacturing depends largely on scale, and Australia’s car production numbers have fallen. Efficient manufacturing depends largely on scale, and Australia’s car production numbers have fallen. AAP/Adi Weda

Car manufacturing numbers just don’t stack up

Now that the final nail has been hammered in to the car industry’s coffin, what does it mean for the Australian economy? As always, the data is a good place to start. Efficient manufacturing depends largely…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is betting the rapid demise of Australia’s automotive sector can be contained politically. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is betting the rapid demise of Australia’s automotive sector can be contained politically. Alan Porritt/AAP

Managed decline to rapid demise: Abbott’s car industry gamble

For the past 30 years, Australian automotive industry policies can be characterised as managed decline. Beginning in the 1980s with the Button Plan, the aim of policy was to consolidate the industry and…
The impact of job loss on car industry workers is multifaceted, and those arguing ‘better jobs’ will emerge could be fooling themselves. The impact of job loss on car industry workers is multifaceted, and those arguing ‘better jobs’ will emerge could be fooling themselves. Julian Smith/AAP

What the departure of Toyota, Holden and Ford really means for workers

People change jobs constantly, and the jobs lost in car manufacturing closures are insignificant in the context of total job changes - no different to everyday job changes. So say some commentators opining…
Global shift: one-in-three vehicles produced by Toyota are manufactured in Asia. Global shift: one-in-three vehicles produced by Toyota are manufactured in Asia. AAP

Toyota’s exit was inevitable: now for real test of government

Toyota Australia President and CEO, Max Yasuda, has described the car maker’s decision to leave Australia as one of the saddest days in its history worldwide. I do not doubt the emotion expressed by Mr…
The link between manufacturing cars and developing technology has been fundamental in Australia. The link between manufacturing cars and developing technology has been fundamental in Australia. AAP

Losing the car industry means we risk our technology

As I’ve argued before and it’s generally accepted, the car industry is a critical part of Australia’s science and technology base. The sector spends A$600 million a year on R&D and another $800 million…
How about a stronger design and development sector within the car manufacturing industry? How about a stronger design and development sector within the car manufacturing industry? KimManleyOrt

Toyota’s exit provides a blank sheet for creative manufacturing

Yesterday’s confirmation that Toyota will cease its car manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, combined with Holden and Ford’s withdrawal by 2017 and 2016, signals the end of car manufacturing…
How will both sides of politics respond to the end of car manufacturing in Australia? How will both sides of politics respond to the end of car manufacturing in Australia? AAP/Joe Castro

Political fortunes of two states ride on the end of the car industry

The Conversation asked two experts in South Australian and Victorian politics to comment on the political repercussions of Toyota’s decision to cease making cars in Australia – marking the end of car manufacturing…
The Productivity Commission has recommended the car industry should receive no additional government funding. The Productivity Commission has recommended the car industry should receive no additional government funding. AAP

No sacred cows: Productivity Commission targets Toyota

Ford and Holden gone. SPC Ardmona in jeopardy. Toyota under threat. The Productivity Commission’s (PC) position paper on automotive industry support fires a clear shot across the bows of the manufacturing…
Toyota is the ‘last man standing’ in Australian car manufacturing, but it needs to shift from an ‘us and them’ approach to industrial relations. Toyota is the ‘last man standing’ in Australian car manufacturing, but it needs to shift from an ‘us and them’ approach to industrial relations. Alan Porritt/AAP

Toyota needs a new approach to avoid the road to nowhere

The Productivity Commission will today release the preliminary report of its inquiry into Australian automotive manufacturing industries, ensuring the future of car manufacturing in Australia continues…
Toyota has a history of operational excellence in Australia. Toyota has a history of operational excellence in Australia. Joe Castro/AAP

Last ‘man’ standing: what now for Toyota in Australia?

Now that Ford and Holden have announced the 2017 closure of their Australian manufacturing and assembly operations, what are the prospects for the industry and its key remaining participant, Toyota? Unlike…
Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. judepics/Flickr

Measuring the fallout of Holden’s ‘perfect storm’

For many decades, Australians have regarded a local car industry as a demonstration of our domestic capability. Sometimes, we have paid dearly for our enthusiasm. In the late 1970s, import quotas limited…
What now for Holden workers? What now for Holden workers? Julian Smith/AAP

Walking away from Holden: Abbott finishes what Hewson started

“Building cars in Australia is just not sustainable.” That was GM Holden managing director Mike Devereux, announcing the closure of Holden. Ominous words for Toyota as well. Toyota responded that Holden’s…
Toyota’s decision to escort redundant workers off-site using security guard caused “undeserved harm” and may also have undermined morale and potentially affected productivity. Toyota’s decision to escort redundant workers off-site using security guard caused “undeserved harm” and may also have undermined morale and potentially affected productivity. AAP

Is the Toyota way the only way?

UPDATE: Workers for transport company 1st Fleet were handed redundancy notices when they arrived for work this morning, after the company ceased trading. Are we seeing something of this same attitude recently…
Toyota has culled 350 workers from its Altona plant, based on an assessment system that rated individuals' performance. Toyota has culled 350 workers from its Altona plant, based on an assessment system that rated individuals' performance. AAP

Toyota’s ‘low-productivity’ workers and the problem of performance assessment

As if losing their jobs wasn’t bad enough in a contracting local economy, the 350 laid-off workers from the Toyota plant in Altona, also leave with the stigma of being a “low-productivity” worker or, colloquially…
Unveiled: from the fanfare of the new Camry model last year, Toyota has axed 350 jobs this week. Unveiled: from the fanfare of the new Camry model last year, Toyota has axed 350 jobs this week. AAP

It’s technology, stupid: manufacturing’s crucial role in our economy

A week after Toyota announced redundancies at its Altona plant in Melbourne, Holden confirmed the loss of 100 casual jobs at its manufacturing plant in Adelaide. Holden chief Mike Devereux said the cuts…
The automotive industry is bearing the brunt of a strong Australian dollar. The automotive industry is bearing the brunt of a strong Australian dollar. AAP

Death by the dollar? How innovation can save manufacturing

Toyota’s announcement yesterday that it will shed 350 jobs at its plant in Altona has been blamed on the strength of the Australian dollar, which some commentators say is having a significant impact on…

Research Briefs (1)