Holden’s Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, South Australia is set to be closed once production of the Holden Commodore ceases at the end of 2017, but the site could be turned into a mixed-use advanced manufacturing hub or a plant for other industrial manufacturing uses according to The Courier Mail.
The Northern Fightback campaign, which is looking for ways to create local jobs and boost Adeleaide’s economy, spoke to manufacturing industry experts about how the former Holden site could be used by future employers. Associate Professor John Spoehr from the University of Adelaide told them the cleanup of the used site in order for it to be used by another company could generate jobs and will be costly for General Motors.
“The remediation of the site will be a major project in its own right and require considerable investment by GMH (General Motors Holden),’’ Spoehr said.
The site may be turned into a mixed-use, advanced manufacturing hub where multiple companies and organizations come together under one roof to manufacture and develop new products.
“An advanced manufacturing hub could be established on site with a particular focus on assistive technologies, energy storage technologies and smart fabrication including modular housing and civil construction using laminated timber technology,” said Spoehr. “There is also a considerable potential market for solar and possibly concentrated solar thermal associated with new storage technologies. A joint venture on the site with Chinese or Spanish investors might be possible if we begin to adopt this approach in Australia as we should.’’
GM and Holden are still weighing their options as to what they will do with the Elizabeth plant. A Holden spokesman said the company wanted to “do something with the site which would be a contributor towards the state, whether that be selling it to the government or to private enterprise, or any one of a number of different options’’.
An Australian Government report released in August last year listed six possible uses for the site including a flat pack housing fabrication center, a special purpose (defense) vehicle manufacturing site, and a parts and accessories supply center. The same report however said the plant “should not be considered suitable for future high-tech manufacturing unless major costs to redevelop grounds and buildings are allowed’’.
Advanced Manufacturing Council chairman Goran Roos, who produced the report, said the cost to convert the Holden plant would be very high even the site was acquired for free.