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Holden's Melbourne plant makes last engine

AAP logoAAP 29/11/2016

The last engine to be built at Holden's Port Melbourne factory has rolled off the production line, just months after the plant won an international General Motors award for productivity.

The final V6 Commodore engine to be built at the site was finished on Tuesday morning, with the plant now set to close.

"The employees at Holden Engine Operations have made an enormous contribution to our company and the entire Australian motoring industry," Holden executive director of manufacturing Richard Phillips said on Tuesday.

"The team was recognised just this year with the top prize as the Most Valuable Plant for Productivity across General Motors International, which reflects the pride and dedication of this team.

The closure leaves 175 workers out of jobs, although 57 of them have already found other work or decided to retire.

Holden chairman Mark Bernhard said the company was determined to remain an "icon" of the Australian motoring industry.

"While it was an emotional time to see the last engine built today, we are proud to retain a significant presence in Australia for the long-term," Mr Bernhard said.

"This includes more than 300 people in our local design and engineering workforces across our world-class design studios in Port Melbourne and the outstanding Holden Proving Ground in Lang Lang."

Holden will keep the building Commodore locally until the end of 2017, at which point it will be built in Europe.

The final V6 engine will be kept as part of Holden's heritage collection.

Victorian Employment Minister Wade Noonan said the closure was a "sad and difficult day" for the workers.

"This is a generation of men and women who have gone to work putting Australian cars on Australian roads, and our thoughts are with them and their families," Mr Noonan said.

The government has set aside $46.5 million for training and help programs for auto workers, businesses and local communities hardest hit in the auto manufacturing shut down.

The Port Melbourne site was bought in September by the state government, which plans to turn it into a design and engineering precinct.

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