The Federal, Victorian and South Australian governments have announced a $35 million joint venture to ensure the sustainability of Australia's automotive manufacturing industry.
The Automotive New Markets Initiative will run over four years to 2015/16 and is part of the Australian Government’s previously announced $5.4 billion New Car plan.
The initiative is made up of three key facets: Firstly, the $30 million Automotive New Markets Program, co‑funded by the Victorian Government, providing financial assistance to automotive firms to diversify their business models by securing new customers and developing new products.
Secondly, the Business Capability Support Program, funding an organisation to assist automotive firms develop new capabilities, improve productivity and build on existing strengths.
And finally, the Automotive Envoys and Automotive Supplier Advocate, promoting the Australian automotive industry in global supply chains and in new emerging industries.
Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation Greg Combet said the initiative demonstrates strong governmental commitment to automotive manufacturing in Australia.
"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," Combet said.
Victorian Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla‑Riva added: "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."
South Australian Acting Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Jack Snelling said the initiative would not only support the 52,000 Australians directly employed in the industry but also the 200,000 jobs across Australia that rely on it.
Applications for the Automotive New Markets Program and the Business Capability Support Program will remain open until September 6, 2012. A second round of funding for the Automotive New Markets Program is possible for 2013, subject to demand.
The announcement comes in the wake of Victorian parts supplier CMI Industrial closing two plants, leaving 119 workers jobless, and Ford Australia announcing a reduction in vehicle production that will result in the axing of 440 workers.