The prime minister says people ought to look at the overall employment picture in Australia and Victoria, not just focus on declines in car making.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says job losses at Ford are regrettable but people should be looking at the whole employment picture, not just one dimension of it.

It was revealed on Thursday that 300 Ford workers in Victoria will lose their jobs by June as the company looks to cease local manufacturing by 2016.

Workers at Ford’s plants in Geelong and Broadmeadows, in Melbourne’s north, will be affected.

Mr Abbott said the news was the result of internal discussions.

“Any job losses are deeply regrettable,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

“The government’s job, though, is to ensure that the overall economy is strong and the right conditions are in place for employment to expand.”

He said there was some good news, too, such as Coles’ decision to invest $360 million in building and upgrading new stores in Victoria, which will create about 3500 jobs.

“We should be looking at the whole of employment picture rather than focusing on just one dimension of it,” he said.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said the Ford decision was disappointing.

“We’re all disappointed with this decision by Ford,” he told state parliament on Thursday.

Dr Napthine said the Victorian government had put $9 million on the table as part of a $45 million package with the previous Labor federal government to assist Ford workers.

The state government had also announced funding for an automotive program targeting new markets.

“When we first heard of this decision, we as a government worked closely with the then federal Labor government to put in place a range of programs to assist those workers, assist those communities and assist those families,” Dr Napthine said.