PM 'angry' as Holden quits Australia

The federal government is disappointed Holden is quitting the Australian market, Karen Andrews says.
The federal government is disappointed Holden is quitting the Australian market, Karen Andrews says.

The prime minister is angry that General Motors took billions of dollars in government subsidies only to let the Holden brand die and then walk away from the Australian market.

General Motors on Monday announced it was retiring the Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after the company ceased local manufacturing in 2017.

"I am angry," Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne, noting governments had contributed more than $2 billion to General Motors.

"They took money from Australian taxpayers for all those years just to let the Holden brand wither on their watch - that's disappointing.

"Throwing all that taxpayers' money at them - at the end of the day they were never going to respect it."

Mr Morrison vowed to look after the roughly 600 workers who will lose their job, stating Canberra would "work with them to ensure they can move into new industries".

Federal Industry Minister Karen Andrews earlier on Monday said she was "very disappointed" with Holden's decision to exit the region.

"The Australian government in various forms has done a lot to support auto vehicle manufacturing here," she told reporters in Sydney.

"A lot of money has been given to these car manufacturers to try and support them ... that makes it particularly disappointing that they have made the decision that they have.

"Holden is walking away from Australia."

Ms Andrews - whose first car was a Holden Torana - was furious the government was only informed of Holden's decision minutes before Monday's public announcement.

"I don't think it's acceptable for Holden to have made this decision without any consultation with government," she said, suggesting it lacked goodwill and decency.

Holden had made it clear the decision had nothing to do with government policy but was the result of it having an Australian business case "they believed was no longer sustainable", Ms Andrews said.

As a result of the shock announcement, the minister said she will be making a call to car manufacturer Ford about its plans in Australia.

Australian Associated Press