Today marks 12 months since the Liberal Government allowed Australia’s last vehicle production plant to close.
In its last year before the Liberals took power, the Australian car industry spent almost $700 million per year on research and development and generated exports worth $3.7 billion.
This R&D effort – and support from the then Labor government – had led to a number of new, high technology manufacturing initiatives and general expansion of the industry, such as Toyota establishing a new hybrid engine plant in Altona and Holden commencing manufacture of the mid-size Cruze.
The supply chain also benefited with Nissan Casting winning a contract to supply components for the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and Carbon Revolution commercialising the world’s first one-piece carbon fibre wheel.
Many firms in the supply chain – like Nissan Casting and Carbon Revolution – still prosper, servicing international customers.
Skills and technologies developed in the auto industry are being used in other industries.
But at a time when the automotive industry is about to go through its greatest transformation in 100 years – the move to electric and autonomous vehicles – Australia risks being sidelined due to the loss vehicle manufacturing capability and the Liberal governments continuing hostility and indifference to manufacturing industry.
The end of vehicle production in Australia will be a lasting testament to the Liberals’ disastrous disregard for manufacturing and jobs in Australia.