Victorian government takes steps to help Australia's car industry

Australia's local car manufacturing industry is certainly floundering at the moment.

With Ford and Holden announcing towards the end of last year that they will gradually phase out vehicle production Down Under, Toyota Australia followed suit on February 10 with the decision to cease manufacturing by 2017.

It is now up to the government to recover this struggling industry - and it appears some states are already making an effort to do just that.

If you are the fleet manager of a government agency in Victoria, you will be well aware of the Standard Motor Vehicle Policy (SMVP) and how it affects your vehicle acquisition decisions. However, a recently announced change to the policy will ensure automakers in Australia will continue to maintain a steady supply of business despite the state of the industry.

The SMVP has always mandated that government fleet managers opt for passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles that are manufactured in Australia, wherever a fit-for-purpose locally produced option is available.

In light of the changes to automotive manufacturing in this country, the SMVP has been extended so that where a fit-for-purpose Australian-made vehicle is not available, fleet managers must give preference for light commercial vehicles that are imported by an Australian manufacturer.

"This is just another way that the Victorian Government is building a better Victoria and reaffirming its commitment to the local vehicle manufacturing industry," Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips stated in a February 6 media release.

The amendment comes into effect immediately and affects all Victorian government agencies.

This is just one example of how state governments can do their part to support the local vehicle manufacturing industry in times of need.

Support doesn't have to be limited to government bodies though - businesses too can show their support for the local economy by opting for cars that are either produced or imported by manufacturers based in Australia. Adjusting the vehicle acquisition policies in your fleet management program is one way of going about this.