Friday, March 7, 2014

What is a Furphy?

[This was originally posted on one of my other blogs dated 7 December 2013]
Furphy and sons is an engineering firm still running in Shepparton, in Victoria. Their water carts were used to deliver water to regional settlers in the late 19th century and they used to bring more than just clean drinking water. They would also deliver rumours carried from one settlement to the next. Those rumours (or Furphys) would also permeate through the settlements from one little whisper or overheard conversation to the next.

I heard my own Furphy yesterday as my gas guy turned up to swap out my empty gas bottles.

“Holden’s shut it’s doors!” Mr Gas mentioned with some concern.

“That’s not actually accurate, “I replied, “nothing has been confirmed. No one has even put their name to it”.

“No I just heard it on the radio. It would be a real shame to see them go”.
“That’s just a rumour”, I told him. I then gave him too much information to possibly pass on at his next stop, so here’s what’s what as far as I’m aware. You can pass it on, but none of it is rumour.

This is not a Furphy.   

Just a few days ago, ABC News citing “Senior Government Ministers” reported that the decision to close Holden has already been made in Detroit.

Holden has denied this.

None of these senior ministers have put their name to the claim.

Minister for Industry and Liberal Member for Groom, The Honourable Ian Macfarlane MP said he has talked to Holden and the speculation has been denied.

Some of you whom may not be familiar with the current circumstances surrounding, not just Holden, but all automotive manufacturing in Australia, may need a little context, so here it is:
Losing car manufacturing and associated industry amounts to an estimated 7.3 billion dollars per year (estimated based on a study by Monash University’s Centre of Policy Studies and the Allen Consulting Group).

Currently it costs Australia per capita, $19.8/year. In return for that investment we get back an estimated $289 per capita.

The Liberal Government went to the 2013 election with a promise to cut $500 million from automotive manufacturing transformation scheme.

They also announced that they would undertake a productivity commission to understand what type of assistance would be needed for a sustainable industry.

Post election the Coalition then reiterated their position that they will not remove any monies that have already been allocated.

Since this recent Furphy from “senior government ministers” who seemingly don’t have names, Prime Minister Abbott has said the government would not be making any additional money available.

Then called on Holden to “make their position clear”.

Keep in mind, of course, that the industry is under said productivity commission review which determines the level of investment Australia is willing to make.

Holden Managing Director Mike Devereux was previously earmarked to leave Holden at the end of this year and move to the General Motors International Operations, however he will now remain until first quarter 2014 to maintain continuity for the Productivity Commission process.

So the Coalition have said they would remove $500 million dollars,
 then said they would have a productivity commission before taking any action,
 then publicly stated they would n’t add any more money.
Then told Holden to make up their mind based on one of these three possible scenarios.

The estimated number of jobs in danger if Australian Automotive manufacturing was lost, range from 55,000 to over 200,000 when considering associated parts manufacturers.
Right now the industry makes Australia money and provides thousands of jobs.

Those are the facts as I currently understand them. 

If you want further information, disagree or want to test any Furphys you may have heard, leave a comment below, tweet or email me and I'll help as best I can.


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