VACC Urges Industry and Innovation Minister to Promote Further Investment in Australian Manufacturing


VACC, the peak automotive industry body in Victoria, with more than 5,000 small business members, is urging the Minister for Industry and Innovation, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet to continue Federal Government investment in local manufacturing. Minister Combet’s Department is now responsible for manufacturing, following last week’s Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

“Local manufacturing is facing many challenges. We trust Minister Combet will be an outspoken advocate for assistance for local manufacturers, including the automotive industry, to ensure long term jobs and growth,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

“VACC believes that manufacturing is so important to our economy that we all should be backing it to the hilt. Indeed, we would like to see the Minister’s catchcry be ‘invest in Australia’.

“’Invest in Australia’ is not just about money. It is also about state of the art training, it is about skills development and it is a mindset to keep Australia at the forefront. We need to do business with local manufacturers even where the latter may not be quite as competitive as the overseas competitor.

“The recently released official VFACTS vehicle sales figures for February illustrate this country’s appetite for purchasing locally manufactured vehicles.  Of the 85,723 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles sold in February 2012, sales of locally manufactured brands accounted for 37 per cent with Toyota, the top seller overall, with 14,849 vehicles, Holden second placed with 9,688 and Ford, in fifth place, with 6,951 vehicles. Toyota, Holden and Ford are produced locally and purchased locally.

“We cannot ignore the fact that demand exists for locally manufactured goods. VACC believes that by ‘investing in Australia’, governments and communities can ensure the continued sustainability of local supply. It will require continued financial investment, and it will also require more considered investment. Local manufacturing is important to this country and we look forward to consulting Minister Combet on this very issue,” Mr Purchase said.

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Australian Economy Needs the Car Industry

A healthy automotive manufacturing industry is a key driver of innovation and national strategic capability says Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries President, Mike Devereux.

The Chairman and Managing Director of Holden, Mr Devereux was speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra today in his last official role as FCAI President.

In his speech Make it in Australia: why car manufacturing matters, Mr Devereux outlined the economic benefits that flow from automotive manufacturing including employment, skills training, R&D and the growth of alternative fuel and energy industries.

“If we’re serious about Australia being a knowledge economy, we need strategic capability. A first-class education system and the ability to build things are the building blocks,” he said.

Mr Devereux said Australia’s car industry was developing new technologies, state of the art manufacturing skills and growing energy industries to help solve issues like climate change.

“Local manufacturers are working on a range of real-world solutions that will help drive more sustainable transport including locally-made hybrid, ethanol and LPG vehicles.

“Holden and Ford have invested heavily in a new range of LPG models for example, and Australians will benefit no matter which vehicles customers choose,” he said.

“These new-generation LPG vehicles have been developed by local engineers and supplier partners, offer significantly lower running costs and contribute to regional development and energy security for Australia.”

Mr Devereux also highlighted Holden’s investment in locally-made flex-fuel vehicles and second generation ethanol.

“Ethanol can significantly reduce well-to-wheel CO2 emissions and like LPG offers the chance to create jobs in regional Australia,” he said.

“Holden is driving a consortium in Victoria to build Australia’s first Gen II ethanol plant which will be able to turn rubbish into fuel.

“There’s no silver bullet here or in any other market when it comes to the environment. We need to pursue a range of options, including electrification, but we also need real world solutions today to support the way Australians really live.”