The Federal Government has called for public input into a review that will help prepare Australia for car makers exit from onshore manufacturing and help shape a $100 million Holden assistance fund.
“These reviews signal the setting of a new direction in Australia’s manufacturing and industry policy,” Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane stated today.
“Traditional manufacturing is undergoing a global change which we must view as an opportunity to re-define the way Australia contributes to global supply chains.
“This is a chance to identify the future of smart manufacturing in Australia, to turn the spotlight on emerging strengths in other parts of the sector, and to build an agenda on the future of manufacturing not a continuation of the past.”
The government is looking to focus the local automotive manufacturing industry on “higher value-added production” instead of heavy industrial manufacturing after several studies – and car makers – found costs of the latter unsustainably high in Australia.
According to a Productivity Commission report last week, Australia gave car manufacturers a total of $30 billion in grants and subsidies in the 15 years to 2012 to little effect in the long term.
After being unable to secure additional government funding this year, Holden announced that it would stop making and assembling cars in Australia by 2017. Ford is due to leave in 2016, and Toyota – the last remaining car maker – is now considering its options.
Macfarlane said today that the government sought to “devise a national strategic response that’s based on building a future rather than a piecemeal, subsidy approach to patch the past”.
He called for ideas on encouraging investment and innovation in new or emerging high-growth sectors, identifying major infrastructure projects to boost productive capacity, supporting the diversification of automotive supply chain companies, and supporting the training and redevelopment of workers displaced by closures.
Submissions are due by the end of January, with a view to producing a final report by the end of February and establishing the $100 million assistance fund by the mid-year.
There’s more on the Minister’s website.
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