Industry and union representatives have told a senate inquiry that the Automotive Transformation Scheme needs to be reformed to expend illegibility in order to help auto component manufacturers transition into other areas of high-tech manufacturing.
These remarks were noted in the recently released Senate Committee report, which found that up to 260 aftermarket manufacturers who make vehicle components and replacements are currently ineligible to draw funds from the Government’s automotive transition package, despite the industry having an export value of $800m.
The Senate Committee heard evidence from two South Australian aftermarket manufacturers that would stand to benefit if provided access to ATS assistance.
Shock absorber manufacturer Super Shock Auto told the Committee that it would be able to increase its number of employees ten-fold, to 120 workers, if the ATS were reformed to expand eligibility.
Component manufacturer Precision Components reported it could triple its workforce to 270 employees if it were able to access the assistance for diversification support. Additionally, the company gave evidence that it would look to transition into manufacture technology in the field of concentrated solar power.
“There are auto component manufacturers all over the country looking to transition to high-tech manufacturing. If the Prime Minister can’t deliver for them, all of his talk about innovation and agility will ring hollow,” said Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) National Secretary, Paul Bastian.
“We are talking about the front line of the innovation revolution. This is where the high-skilled manufacturing jobs of the future will be but only if the Government is willing to back it. We are calling on the Government to stop planned cuts to the ATS and act immediately to reform the ATS to give Australian workers and businesses a chance at high-tech future.”
Mr Bastian also called on the Federal Government to urgently devise a transition plan to accommodate the thousands of workers that will lose their jobs following the exit of Ford, Toyota and Holden.
“Innovation has been the buzzword of Prime Minister Turnbull’s first months in office. If he wants a future high-tech manufacturing industry, he must step up for these businesses and workers,” Mr Bastian added.
“The closure of the Australian auto industry will see the loss of at least 90,000 jobs across our economy. If the Government doesn’t have a decent transition plan in place, they will be throwing 90,000 workers on the unemployment scrap heap.”