Carr announces review of automotive industry: buses not included

By: Chris Smith

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, announced a comprehensive review of Australia's automotive industry to

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, announced a comprehensive review of Australia's automotive industry to be conducted by Steve Bracks.

The Government's Review of the Australian Automotive industry will focus on the passenger motor vehicle industry.

However, the Review does not cover buses says a Department spokesperson.

The establishment of the review recognises the importance of the industry and reflects the Government's determination to ensure its long term viability and sustainability.

"The automotive industry is strategically vital to Australia in terms of employment, exports and innovation," Carr says.

"The environment our vehicle and component makers operate in has changed dramatically over the last ten years, but the previous government was asleep at the wheel.

"What is now needed is a full, open and frank assessment of the challenges currently facing the sector.

"This review will be about working with the industry to overcome barriers to success and to identify and take advantage of new opportunities," Carr says.

"The review will particularly consider the impact of global concern about climate change on the industry and the impact of changing consumer vehicle preferences. This will help to inform the implementation of the Government's $500 million Green Car Innovation Fund.

"The future of the industry is dependent on attracting investment, building up skills, encouraging research and development and ensuring that government programs are effective and efficient. The Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme is an important element of government policy. The review will assist laying down a new set of principles to make the industry sustainable into the future," Carr says.

Bracks will be supported by an expert panel comprising:

  • Tim Harcourt (Chief Economist, Australian Trade Commission);
  • Peter Upton (former CEO, Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers);
  • Dr Elizabeth Webster (Principal Research Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); and
  • Nixon Apple (Industry and Investment Policy Adviser, ACTU).

Sitting fees for panel members will be set according to standard Remuneration Tribunal scales.

Carr says Bracks has established an enviable track record as Premier of Victoria, where he provided strong leadership on innovation issues and worked tirelessly to encourage research excellence and to facilitate closer ties between the scientific and research communities.

"Steve Bracks' extensive international experience means he is ideally suited to sort the wheat from the chaff in this very complex area," Carr says.

"The Australian Government is pleased to secure the services of such a well respected figure who is so knowledgeable and passionate about innovation policy."

The review will consult widely with stakeholders and will be calling for public submissions. It will provide an interim report to the Government by 31 March 2008, with a final report to be completed by 31 July 2008.

The automotive review will take place concurrently with the recently announced review of Australia's national innovation system and will have regard to the issues raised in that review.

The Government will separately request the Productivity Commission to undertake modelling on economy-wide effects of future assistance options.

The Commission's modelling will be released publicly to inform the panel's examination of the industry, public debate, and the Government's deliberations in this area.

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