HVIA appeals for funding to modernise heavy vehicle manufacturing

HVIA has called for a further round of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund to support heavy vehicle manufacturers in retooling, re-engineering and innovation to future-proof local manufacturing and assist Australia’s post pandemic economic recovery.

In an appeal to Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, HVIA says the time is right to have another round for the popular grant which would also assist other manufacturing sectors create jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking says the heavy vehicle industry is one of the key remaining manufacturing industries in Australia.

“There are over 1 million heavy vehicle assets (trucks and trailers) on Australian roads underpinning the 700 billion tonne kilometres of freight across almost every sector of the Australian economy,” Mr Hacking said.

“We believe our industry has the potential to make a significant contribution to Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, including pivoting into new markets, upskilling, ensuring more efficient processes and investing in Advanced Manufacturing.

“Historically, our industry has been seen as more traditional manufacturing due to the customised nature of the industry, which rules out the large scale, highly automated assembly line approach.”

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission’s (NCCC), interim report suggests the implementation of Industry 4.0 in Australia has been extraordinarily low compared to other western economies.

Mr Hacking says the time is right with technological advancements, new systems and consumer sentiment for Australian made products.

“There is newfound enthusiasm to pursue ways to innovate, automate or to generally invest in Industry 4.0, as a need to pivot following the pandemic, a response to overseas competition and a will to innovate,” he said.

“Australia’s diverse transport system, harsh conditions and vast distances have resulted in innovative engineering designs, with virtually every vehicle built specifically for the task it will undertake and resulting in some of the safest and most efficient heavy vehicles in the world.

“This has been achieved without the government support provided to the light vehicle industry.

“We believe a grant program that strategically enables businesses to invest and create jobs, grow, expand, diversify, or increase efficiency to create jobs and stimulate a higher degree of Advanced Manufacturing in Australia is a responsible and prudent investment.

“The first round of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund was hugely popular with over 1000 grant applications, which demonstrates the interest in the goals of the initiative”, Mr Hacking concluded.

Image: Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP (source: Twitter)

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