The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) has warned that Australia has the worst automotive skills shortage in history, with 31,000 unfilled positions, against a backdrop of the industry-wide need to upskill in preparation for the transition to electrification while importing skilled labour remains impossible under COVID-related travel ban conditions.
MTAA’s latest Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry report highlights an urgent need for “a national plan to manage the transformation of the current 20 million-strong national vehicle fleet away from dominant internal combustion engines”.
“Australia’s transition to electric, connected, and autonomous mobility faces threats from severe skill shortages, structural adjustment across 13 industry segments and a lack of cohesive national planning,” says the report.
The report pulls no punches when it comes to Australia’s lack of federal policy or direction in terms of the coming electrification transition and related areas of the economy.
It calls for the government to “remove the vacuum currently being filled with piecemeal populous jurisdiction policy in areas such as EV subsidies, partial user-pay systems, tax grabs, and the use and regulation of autonomous vehicle systems”.
MTAA estimates that for traditional automotive businesses to adapt to servicing and repairing EVs will have to invest an average of $80,000 in training and equipment while facing a “42 per cent reduction in revenue from traditional ICE vehicle service and repairs”.
The MTAA report doesn’t say it, but by already specialising in thermal management and electrical systems, VASA members are among the best placed to prosper in the coming transition.