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Continued loss of engineering jobs - a concern for a sustainable manufacturing industry

Editorial

The Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia has expressed its concerns about the continued loss of engineering R&D and design jobs in the automotive industry, and the impact on the future of a sustainable manufacturing industry in Australia.

GM Holden recently announced a round of voluntary separation packages to reduce their engineering staff by around 45 people at their Victorian headquarters in Port Melbourne. 

SAE-A Executive Director Natalie Roberts said these job losses are of great concern for the individuals involved and also for the industry at large. She explains that design, research and development roles such as these are the backbone of innovation and new product development in Australia, which then flows to manufacturing. 

Observing that several members will be directly or indirectly impacted by the GM Holden decision, she extended the Society’s support to them and encouraged those affected to contact them for assistance.

Natalie Roberts said SAE-A advocates policies that enhance Australia’s clean sheet design capabilities, which provide critical economic and social dividends to the community through innovation and new technologies. 

Observing a decline in Australia’s automotive engineering skills and capabilities under the present policy settings, the Society has strongly urged the Federal Government to implement the Productivity Commission review in addition to conducting an analysis of ‘what the underlying issues are’ to take immediate action and prevent further weakening of the sector.

To make effective, long term policies, the Government needs to understand where Australia’s R&D and manufacturing industries sit globally in relation to government funding, protection and other less obvious trade barriers, such as restricted energy exports that keep the cost of manufacturing low in other countries. 

The SAE-A believes Australia’s engineering design, R&D and manufacturing industries do not receive the same level of support as their international competitors. 

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