Today the Senate Economics References Committee tabled its interim report on the future of Australia’s automotive industry, at the same time as industry leaders gather in Canberra for the inaugural Australian Automotive National Summit.
The interim report and recommendations were developed after extensive consultation with industry, unions and policy experts, including through public hearings in Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra.
Evidence presented to the Committee made it clear that the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) must be redefined to take into account current industry circumstances and support diversification and new investment throughout the supply chain.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including amending the object of the Automotive Transformation Scheme Act 2009 and changing ATS rules and regulations to encourage new investment and provide greater support for automotive component manufacturers to transform and diversify their operations.
The report also urges the Abbott Government to work with all stakeholders in the automotive industry to develop policies that will sustain an internationally competitive automotive industry in Australia.
This includes broadening the ATS to allow it to support manufacturing of components and materials, the commercialisation of new automotive technologies, and engineering and design for both domestic and offshore automotive customers.
The Australian Automotive National Summit, the largest gathering of automotive industry leaders in recent years, is the perfect forum for the Government to begin this work of helping the industry transform, attract new investment and create a new future for automotive jobs when vehicle manufacturing ceases in 2017.
Australia will have an auto industry beyond 2017 but, as the Committee found, Government policy will determine its size and scope.