SA calls for extra auto industry assistance

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has called for the Federal Government to reverse cuts to auto industry assistance, in order to help auto component makers transform and survive.

“We call on the Federal Government to recommit the $900 million to the Commonwealth’s Automotive Transformation Scheme,” he said in a statement.

Adding that the scheme could even be opened to other sectors to help fill the void when local car making finishes, he said, “By reversing the cut to the ATS, the Federal Government has a prime platform to transform an old manufacturing industry into an innovative and cutting-edge sector.”

New figures compiled by the Automotive Transformation Taskforce show that of 74 companies that are most heavily reliant on automotive supply chain, 58 are planning a future beyond Holden and Toyota’s closure, although many with a smaller footprint.

South Australian Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said the State Government has implemented measures to assist local supply chain companies to move away from their reliance on the car making industry.

“The State Government is supporting supply chain companies to diversify through our $11.65 million Automotive Supplier Diversification Program, which offers a range of funding support to companies for diversification strategy development, mentoring, retooling, and workforce retraining,” he said.

Maher said that while there’s no doubt some automotive supply chain companies will close when the last car rolls of Holden’s production line in 2017, others are optimistic that diversification strategies will deliver them a sustainable future.

“Mr Pyne and the Federal Government can play an important role in securing jobs in South Australia – especially in northern Adelaide – by reinvigorating the Automotive Transformation Scheme,” he said.