Budget A Win For Automotive As Sector Undergoes Rapid Transformation: MTAA

Australia’s automotive retail sector has secured a suite of new funding commitments in the 2024 federal budget aimed at preparing the industry for a cleaner energy future while driving new opportunities for small and medium businesses.

The MTAA highlighted several budget commitments, including $60 million to help automotive businesses install electric vehicle chargers at their premises, along with

the $84.5 million fund to implement the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) with a new regulator and platform to administer the scheme.

“This budget is the first one in recent years to acknowledge the challenges facing automotive retail businesses, and shows the Australian Government understands what’s required to prepare Australia for an EV future – skills, infrastructure and investment. We commend them for the forward thinking demonstrated through this budget,” said Matt Hobbs, CEO of the MTAA.

“With the automotive retail sector predominantly made up of small and medium businesses, our members are engaging with Australian consumers everyday as they turn to newer, cleaner powertrains for their daily drive. This is therefore good news for industry, but also for all Australians.”

Other budget measures supporting the automotive industry highlighted by the MTAA:

  • $10,000 in grants for apprentices working with EVs and wage subsidies for their employers
  • A $50 million capital and equipment investment fund for facility upgrades to expand clean energy training capacity
  • $30 million for a clean energy teacher, trainer and assessor workforce
  • $1,500 in annual reimbursements for employers accessing Group Training Services for their clean energy apprentices
  • $55.6 million for the Building Women’s Careers programme supporting women to enter male dominated industries and address critical skills shortages
  • $265.1 million to provide additional targeted support under the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme

“This budget lays the foundation for a cleaner energy future for the automotive sector, which wishes to make its contribution to reducing emissions by supporting more greener cars on the road,” said Hobbs.

While acknowledging that the budget is a “big step in the right direction”, he said more work must be done to ready Australia for an EV future and realise its net zero objectives.

“One area which requires urgent reform is the Luxury Car Tax, yet disappointingly the government is penalising everyday family hybrids with a tightened fuel efficiency threshold from 1 July – such a move makes no sense when the aim is to encourage more households to shift to lower emission vehicles,” said Hobbs.

The MTA NSW cautiously welcomed the budget measures. “The intent of these measures is positive, but more detail is needed to understand whether they will meet the specific needs of our industry,” it said.

In addition to training and new energy measures, the association also praised the extension of the Instant Asset Write Off Scheme, which allows small businesses to write off equipment up to $20,000. The scheme was due to be scrapped at the end of this year but will now continue for another 12 months.

The VACC welcomed several budget initiatives, particularly the $84.5 million allocated to implement the NVES, training for EV maintenance and repair, and general transition support.

“While the government didn’t address every request from motor trade bodies, this budget represents a positive step in the right direction,” the VACC said.