The Victorian Automobile Chamber Of Commerce (VACC) and Gas Energy Australia jointly prepared the proposal, aimed primarily at filling some of the void left by the looming departures of Ford and Holden from local manufacturing.
The proposed facilities would convert new vehicles to run on LPG or ‘dual-fuel’, including light and small cars, SUVs, light commercial vehicles and even hybrids before supplying them to the Australian market.
Other advantages of the scheme include a reduction in Australia’s dependence on overseas oil, support for continuing automotive development in Australia and ensuring that workers with ‘high-end’ skills remain in the industry.
“The initiative will require industry and government cooperation to create a niche manufacturing capability for the Australian car industry that will be sustainable in the long term and make LPG vehicles a viable alternative for new-car buyers,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.
“These vehicles are not the LPG converted vehicles we know now. The vehicles rolling off the new production lines will utilise the most advanced LPG technology and include production of LPG-powered hybrid vehicles.”
Gas Energy Australia Director and CEO, Michael Carmody, said the proposed facilities would use the latest European and American production methods.
“[The facility] will also reduce our dependency on oil, improve Australia’s energy security, utilise an indigenous resource and reduce vehicle greenhouse gases,” Mr Carmody said.
The proposal could be a case of 'right place, wrong time' however, with a recent market prediction suggesting Australia will soon experience record-high LPG prices, due to increased demand during the northern winter.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a $100 million assistance package for the struggling Australian car industry, aimed at making remaining parts suppliers economically viable, retraining displaced employees and securing jobs.