The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) says the federal government must do more to ease Australia’s transition to EVs following the release of the government’s preferred model for a vehicle fuel efficiency standard.
“The whole industry knows putting in place a fuel efficiency standard is the right way to go. The argument is just about the fine details,” said Matt Hobbs, CEO of the MTAA. “We score the government a seven out of 10, so far. Some adjustments are needed in the early years, especially in the treatment of utes. I am confident we can work with the government to ensure they get a perfect mark.”
According to the government, the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) will eventually bring Australia into line with other countries in terms of efficiency and emissions standards, while bringing a greater choice of EVs and more efficient petrol vehicles to the Australian market.
The MTAA said that while it welcomed the standard, the government must partner with industry to ensure the workforce can support Australia’s EV transition.
“As stakeholders resolve EV supply and range issues in Australia, the next challenge is to implement the required workforce. EVs are cutting-edge technology and as such need a highly trained Australian workforce. A good first step is to make more apprentices eligible for the New Energy Apprentices Program,” said Hobbs.
The MTAA said that it is concerned that not all car companies will make the transition, which could bring challenges to the Australian industry. According to the association, the huge technology shift brings opportunities but also risks for Australian small businesses and automotive workers who can lose their investment and livelihoods at the whim of international car companies in offshore headquarters. Australian automotive workers and small businesses therefore need the government to support them with an automotive industry code of conduct to protect workers who it said are “at the mercy of multinational companies”.
“The future of the global auto industry is the industrial version of the Hunger Games played in boardrooms far from Australia. It is imperative the government develops an automotive industry code to give Australian workers and businesses a fair go,” said Hobbs.
The MTAA said it will provide a detailed submission to the government on the impact of its preferred option shortly.