Gov launches automotive initiative

The Government has launched an automotive supplier initiative designed to develop new products and access new markets.

Unveiled by Greg Combet yesterday, the $35 million Automotive New Markets Initiative is a joint operation between the Australian, Victorian and South Australian governments, will help the supply chain capture new opportunities in global automotive markets as well as in emerging high growth non‑automotive industries.

It comes as the government weathers fierce criticism over its inaction as the automotive industry slumps.

 “The automotive industry faces challenges as a result of the high value of the Australian dollar and changes in consumer demand," Combet explained.

“The Automotive New Markets Initiative will help automotive component manufacturers to improve their competitiveness and break into the global supply chains which are an increasingly important feature of the car-making industry.”

Victorian minister for manufacturing, Richard Dalla-Riva added that "this initiative will make the most of the capabilities our automotive suppliers have by helping firms achieve the scale necessary to be successful in global supply chains".

"At a time of significant structural pressures on the car industry, local components suppliers must look to transform themselves into companies that can compete not only in selling parts into local production but also into global auto industry markets and into other sectors like defence, rail, aerospace and mining. We will stand by the industry during this period of transformation," he said.

The program will run over four years and has three key elements: firstly it will provide financial assistance to firms to diversify their businesses; secondly it will help firms to develop new capabilities; and lastly an Automotive Envoys and Automotive Supplier Advocate will promote the Australian automotive industry in global supply chains and in new emerging industries.

"This initiative will support not only the 52,000 Australians directly employed in the industry but the 200,000 jobs across Australia that rely on it," South Australian minister for manufacturing Jack Snelling stated.

The Automotive New Markets Initiative is part of the Australian Government’s $5.4 billion New Car Plan to support the automotive industry.

This initiative comes as automotive components companies warn that Ford may leave Australia by 2016, and manufacturers slash jobs.