AAAA Delegation Seeks Support For The Future Of Australia’s Automotive Manufacturing Industry

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has led a delegation to Canberra to undertake urgent discussions to support Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry.

A delegation of 10 Second Stage Manufacturers travelled to Canberra on 7th February to seek constructive dialogue with the Department of Transport and key Members of Parliament to highlight the importance of the automotive manufacturing industry and how the current federal government approval process is affecting the industry’s key fleet customers including mining, farming, and our vital emergency services.

The current process of requesting approval for essential and routine commercial modifications prior to first registration is an extremely difficult, time consuming process for businesses which is strangling the ability of Australian automotive manufacturers to innovate and compete in a fair manner.   

This action from AAAA and the manufacturing delegates demonstrates the importance and urgency of protecting the future of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry. Since the closure of Australia’s car manufacturing base, Australia’s extensive automotive design and engineering expertise has pivoted towards the manufacture of 4WD parts and accessories to ensure that vehicles are modified to handle Australia’s unique terrain and climate. 

“This process is killing what Australian engineering, design and manufacturing we have left, said Stuart Charity, CEO of the AAAA.

“Companies in our industry have already withdrawn from the market due to frustrations with the approval system.

“Unless the system is fixed, we risk killing off our domestic manufacturers, making it impossible for Australia to evolve and meet the demands of global automotive trends and the future low emission global automotive industry. 

“The current system is hurting many sectors, from farmers to our mining industry, state and territory emergency service vehicles, and consumers who are looking to implement safety upgrades to deal with Australia’s harsh terrain,” said Stuart.

The AAAA actively flagged concerns to government about the potential negative ramifications of the Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) Legislation before its introduction in 2021.

“We were guaranteed assurances that second-stage manufacturers would not be left out and a clear pathway for second stage manufacturers would be developed, but this did not happen.

“Now it appears that a culture has developed within the Department of searching for reasons to block SSM applications. Combined with lengthy delays in reviewing applications, an ineffective IT system for mass commercial use and a very limited appeals process we are experiencing near catastrophic impacts for the Australian automotive manufacturing industry, and flow on impacts for our customers,” said Stuart.

Australia is a world class leader in vehicle springs, shock absorbers, brake components and many other important vehicle accessories. Australian companies are designing and developing these products locally and are exporting them to the world. This expertise enables the aftermarket to modify thousands of vehicles with upgraded systems to produce a final vehicle that is safe and fit for purpose and used by mining, agricultural and emergency service sectors.

AAAA’s Director of Government Relations & Advocacy Ms Lesley Yates said, “there are a number of bureaucratic issues that are leaving Australian manufacturers playing a game of chance with every approval. The current system lacks transparency, consistency, and accountability, all three aspects are needed for an approval process that is fit for purpose.”

Amongst the delegation of respected automotive industry companies in Canberra negatively affected by the current legislation is Pedders Suspension.

Mark Pedder, Director of Pedders Suspension said, “This issue is affecting the entire aftermarket industry and is having flow on affects to customers. A functioning approval system that balances speed in processing and clarity for applicants is vital to the Australian Aftermarket’s longevity, and we are fully supportive of AAAA’s approach to getting the issues addressed.”    

The AAAA arranged meetings with a number of MPs and Senators during the trip, and the delegation was able to communicate the seriousness of the matter, encouraging the Government to take action as a matter of urgency to support the future of the automotive manufacturing industry.

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