The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) enthusiastically welcomes the $46.5 million Victorian Government Automotive Transition Plan designed to help automotive businesses transition to new markets and workers to retrain for sustainable jobs.
Since the announcements by local car makers that they will close their local plants by 2017, the AAAA has called on Governments at Federal and State levels to introduce policy to ensure Australia’s automotive design, engineering and manufacturing skills and investment in capital equipment are not lost.
AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity congratulated the Victorian Government on this initiative. “Automotive manufacturing is at the pointy end – it is a complex and high technology sector,” said Stuart Charity.
“It would be tragic to lose Victoria’s high technology automotive manufacturing capability. The Automotive Transition Plan will help keep skilled jobs and precision production processes alive in this State.
“It is anticipated that 35,000 direct jobs will be lost in 2017 when Ford, GM Holden and Toyota close their local plants. Millions of dollars worth of sophisticated manufacturing equipment will be redundant.
“The Automotive Transition Plan focuses on transitioning both the automotive businesses and their workers – through retraining and careers advice – to help capture new opportunities in different markets.
“Our automotive technologies are applicable to military vehicles, buses and trucks, rail and tram, agriculture and construction equipment, aircraft and other sectors, such as medical and scientific equipment.
“There are a number of Australian original equipment component manufacturers successfully exporting to car makers overseas. We believe many more local companies can follow this example.
“We also know that Australia’s strong aftermarket parts and accessories sector can further expand and provide new jobs.
“The AAAA wants more jobs to be created and appreciates the humane elements of this plan targeting business support and skills training in communities impacted by the car makers’ closures, such as Melbourne’s South East suburbs.
“The AAAA has consulted widely with the Federal and State Governments to focus attention on the need for policy that promotes innovation, commercialisation of new products and growth in those parts of the automotive industry that will remain after 2017.
“To progress this conversation with Governments and to support automotive businesses, the AAAA last week launched the Australian Automotive Products Manufacturers & Exporters Council (APMEC). The Council leadership includes successful automotive products manufacturers and exporters.
“APMEC will also help our automotive manufacturers to diversify the products they make and the markets they reach.
“Australia’s automotive industry has skilled workers, good infrastructure and financial systems, and sophisticated design, engineering and production technologies. These attributes have enabled our manufacturers to establish an international reputation as suppliers of high quality products.
“We must continue to capitalise on these advantages. This Victorian Government program will be a great asset in achieving this aim. The AAAA looks forward to working closely with the Victorian Government to implement its Automotive Transition Plan,” said Stuart Charity.