Tony O'Kane | Aug 20, 2009

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES has passed the Rudd Government's proposed Automotive Transformation Scheme Bill, which aims to inject an estimated $3.4 billion into the local car industry.

The Bill aims to stimulate innovation and investment in Australian new car design, with a particular emphasis on environmentally-friendly technology.

The money is intended to be spent between 2011 and 2020, and will be targeted towards projects with a 'green' objective.

The Automotive Transformation Scheme will also replace the Howard Government’s Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme (ACIS).

"Stimulating additional R&D, a major contributor to innovation, will improve productivity and build competitive advantage," Small Business Minister Craig Emerson said in a statement earlier this year.

"The new scheme also requires participants to demonstrate a commitment to improving environmental outcomes.

"This will lead to the development of vehicles with lower fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions."

Although the House of Representatives did not oppose the draft laws, the Federal Opposition called for a number of amendments. The Opposition claims that greater transparency in annual spending reports is needed to ensure the assistance money is not wasted.

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The Senate will now examine the Bill and consider the proposed amendments, however FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar has urged Opposition parties not to obstruct the legislation.

"Now is not the time for political opportunism," Mr McKellar said.

"The legislation will provide the industry with the confidence to invest in new technologies and support the development of lower emission and greener vehicles in Australia.

"Any delay will cause unnecessary uncertainty and concern."

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