The Senate Economics References Committee today tabled its final report on the future of Australia’s automotive industry – with the Committee finding that Australia’s automotive industry will endure beyond announced closures in motor vehicle production in 2016 and 2017.

Labor Senators on the Committee remain confident that, with the right policy settings, Australia can attract new automotive manufacturing investment.

The Committee’s final report builds on an interim report tabled in August 2015, which recommended that the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) be redefined to  support diversification, encourage new manufacturing investment and maintain industrial capabilities throughout the supply chain.

The Committee’s recommendations were developed after extensive consultation over the last year, including public hearings in Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra.

The Committee has reiterated its call for the Abbott-Turnbull Government to adopt a coordinated approach for automotive industry policy and has recommended the formation of a joint Automotive Industry Taskforce, made up of representatives from industry, unions and governments.

The Taskforce would inform the development of a national automotive policy that encompasses all sectors of the industry, including motor vehicle production, component making, aftermarket manufacturing, engineering and design, servicing and smash repairs, retail motor trades, sales support and training.

The Automotive Industry Taskforce would build on the work of the AutoCRC Automotive Australia 2020 Roadmap Project to develop strategies to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities associated with alternative fuels and emerging technologies, such as electrification, light-weighting, gaseous fuels and fuel cell technologies, car sharing, telematics and autonomous vehicles. 

The Committee’s findings make it abundantly clear that the Abbott-Turnbull Government must develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan to avoid economic and social catastrophe in the regions that depend on automotive manufacturing, particularly Victoria and South Australia.

Australia will have an automotive industry beyond 2017. As acknowledged in the Committee’s final report handed down today, Government policy will determine its size and its scope.

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