EDITORIAL: Poll suggests shaky future for local bodybuilding industry

By: Chris Smith

Australia’s bus body building industry looks to be in grave danger following the recent results of Australasian Bus+Coach’s online poll

Australia’s bus body building industry looks to be in grave danger following the recent results of Australasian Bus+Coach’s online poll on the busnews.com.au website.

The poll asked if the local body building industry is in danger of extinction and the results were overwhelmingly thumbs down.

A resounding 77.7 percent of respondents expressed their concerns the industry was heading to extinction with 15.7 percent claiming it wasn’t and a further 6.6 percent of respondents sitting on the maybe fence.

Chiron/UBC, BCI and King Long Australia bodies are all manufactured overseas and recently Scania became the latest chassis supplier to offer a body ready for import into the Australian market by importing the Irizar product.

Mass production may bring uniformity of design, standardised quality, and leads to shorter delivery times, but the Australian manufacturing industry must also play a part in the future of the bus industry — it must not be given the opportunity to wither and die.

This should be an alarming moment for local manufactures and suppliers and give them a reason to band together and use their local and national associations to apply pressure to the state and federal jurisdictions to prevent the demise of the industry.

At the moment the Australian body builders are coping with record demand and finding it increasingly difficult to keep up supply.

We know the problem, we need to seek solutions in attracting skilled workers from an increasingly shallow labour pool.

An example of finding a solution is the creation of a skills formation strategies, created to provide a framework for industries and communities to work with each other, the government and other relevant stakeholders to address industry skill shortages.

New skills formation strategies affecting the bus industry include the Skills Formation Strategy for Heavy Vehicle Repair a partnership between the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) and the Department of Education, Training and the Arts (DETA) and the Skills Formation Strategy — Moving People, between the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) and the Queensland Government.

Already there is a realisation that skills, and finding skilled labour, is crucial for the bus and coach industry’s survival in Australia. Use the feedback form below to tell us what you are doing in your state, your association or your business to bring labour and skills back to the industry.

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