One natural resource Australia has an abundance of is LPG and with the Australia car manufacturing industry in the toilet this news is great news not only for this country but the city of Geelong in Victoria which is one of the cities that is going to be hit hard when Ford closes it’s doors.
Geelong remains on course to become a Centre of Excellence for a revitalised LPG vehicle manufacturing industry.
Minister for Manufacturing, David Hodgett, has announced a grant of $55,000 as a co-contribution to a demand study, which will determine the feasibility of an initiative to develop an LPG vehicle production plant in Geelong.
The proposal includes a new Centre of Excellence which would support hundreds of jobs, re-skill existing automotive workers and utilise existing facilities. In addition, the initiative, a joint VACC and Gas Energy Australia (GEA) proposal, would boost the local economy and ensure Geelong’s long-standing association with the automotive industry continues.
Recently, Shadow Treasurer, Tim Pallas, also promised to commit funds to the study and VACC has today welcomed the fact that no matter which party becomes the next Victorian Government, after the State election on 29 November, the next phase of the LPG vehicle manufacturing proposal will go ahead.“This is an important milestone,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.
“The demand study will establish if the LPG vehicle production proposal has legs. VACC, GEA and the next State Government will each contribute financially to the study and it will determine, one way or another, if the plan is sustainable,” Mr Purchase said.
The VACC and GEA proposal was first presented at the Premier’s automotive industry roundtable nearly 12 months ago. Both organisations have promoted the idea to State and Federal Ministers and engaged with industry, councils and the community. In September, VACC’s Executive Board met with Mayor of Geelong, Darryn Lyons, and City of Greater Geelong, Chief Executive, Dr Gillian Miles, to discuss the plan.
The initiative includes the supply of next-generation LPG vehicles to the Australian market, including LPG-powered SUVs, small cars, light commercial and hybrid vehicles, and the creation of more than 500 jobs in the automotive industry. The production facilities (proposed for Geelong and South Australia) would operate in association with a new national Centre of Excellence, in Geelong, which will provide research and development, training, production protocols, accreditation and product certification.
Australia has huge reserves of LPG and the initiative would also reduce the nation’s dependency on oil, improve Australia’s energy security, utilise an indigenous resource and reduce vehicle greenhouse gases.