Michael Devereux President of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries - "Make it in Australia why car manufacturing matters address to the National Press Club of Australia on ABC TV today asked for innovative, intelligent, government decisions based in a long-term commitment to stability.
His address nailed down the challenges - uncertainty around government policy settings, Free Trade Agreements that have not delivered reciprocal market access, historically high currency exchange rates, increasing competition in the domestic market and a depressed global market.
Devereux's solution is an educated Australia, flexible and empowered through a world competitive manufacturing sector with the ability to outlast mining and farming via progressive development of intellectural excellence in product development.
Devereux, Chairman and Managing Director of GM Holden delivered a compelling argument for Australia remaining one of just 13 countries in the world that can design, engineer and manufacture motor vehicles.
If were serious about Australia being a knowledge economy, we need strategic capability. A first-class education system and the ability to build things are the building blocks, he said.
Local manufacturers are working on a range of real-world solutions that will help drive more sustainable transport including locally-made hybrid, ethanol and LPG vehicles.
Holden and Ford have invested heavily in a new range of LPG models for example, and Australians will benefit no matter which vehicles customers choose, he said.
These new-generation LPG vehicles have been developed by local engineers and supplier partners, offer significantly lower running costs and contribute to regional development and energy security for Australia.
Michael Devereux also highlighted Holdens investment in locally-made flex-fuel vehicles and second generation ethanol.
Ethanol can significantly reduce well-to-wheel CO2 emissions and like LPG offers the chance to create jobs in regional Australia, he said.
Holden is driving a consortium in Victoria to build Australias first Gen II ethanol plant which will be able to turn rubbish into fuel.
Theres no silver bullet here or in any other market when it comes to the environment. We need to pursue a range of options, including electrification, but we also need real world solutions today to support the way Australians really live, Michael Devereux said.