Gas Energy Australia and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) are campaigning for the creation of LPG conversion facilities in Victoria and South Australia in a bid to create new jobs and breathe new life into the flailing local automotive industry.
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The duo submitted a joint proposal to Victorian Premier Denis Napthine at yesterday’s automotive industry roundtable, claiming the formation of three conversion facilities in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide could create more than 500 new jobs and lead to the production of 45,000 LPG-powered vehicles per year.

Gas Energy Australia director and CEO Michael Carmody explained the production facilities would operate alongside a new national centre of excellence planned for Melbourne and deliver a range of next-generation LPG-powered vehicles, including small cars, SUVs, light-commercial vehicles and hybrids.

“This is an opportunity to create our own world-class LPG manufacturing facilities, using European and American production methods,” Carmody said.

“It will also reduce our dependency on oil, improve Australia’s energy security, utilise an indigenous resource and reduce vehicle greenhouse gases.”

The proposal is estimated to cost around $50 million and claims it could help reduce Australia’s demand for oil by as much as seven million barrels per year.

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VACC executive director David Purchase said the initiative would create a niche manufacturing capability for Australia that would be sustainable in the long term and make LPG-powered vehicles a viable alternative for new car buyers, though could not happen without industry and government cooperation.

“These vehicles are not the LPG converted vehicles we know now,” Purchase said.

“The vehicles rolling off the new production lines will utilise the most advanced LPG technology and include production of LPG-powered hybrid vehicles.”

The proposal comes one week after Holden announced it would cease production in 2017, which will directly lead to the loss of 2900 jobs and potentially thousands more from parts suppliers.