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Labor's plan to re-spark local manufacturing: Australia to play a "global role" in EV development

Labor wants Australia to play a "global role" in EV manufacturing

The federal Labor Party has promised to re-spark Australia's near-extinct automotive manufacturing industry, pledging $57 million to ensure we play a "global role" in the production of future electric vehicles.

The current opposition also took the opportunity to direct plenty of criticism toward the Coalition, accusing the government of causing "nothing but destruction" to local manufacturing, and of "driving the major vehicle production companies offshore, costing thousands of workers their jobs".

But that doesn't mean the deserted factory lines at Holden's South Australian plant will suddenly begin turning out Commodores again. Instead, the Labor Party wants Australia to play a role in the development of EV transport, be it via trucks, buses or trains.

"Australia has research, manufacturing and assembly capacity in buses, trucks, and rail, all of which is looking at electrification and alternative fuels like hydrogen as part of the transport future," the party says. "This industrial capability, plus our world-class tertiary institutions, will be the basis of an electric vehicle industry and reducing emissions."

The basis of Labor's electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing strategy is a total $57m investment into the R&D and manufacturing of electric transport, including $30 million for EV and mobility development, $25m for research into developing local components for the EV supply chain, and prioritising government spend for people involved in EV production.

And it's not just vehicles, with Labor also focused on batteries and charging infrastructure, promising $2m for a new Sodium-ion battery plant in Geelong.

Australia already has some form in this department, too, with two die-cast aluminium parts that are used in the construction of the Nissan Leaf EV powertrains already made by the brand's plant in Dandenong South in Victoria.

You'll have noticed, though, that nowhere in Labor's plan does it mention passenger cars, with those days likely to remain behind us. Instead, this announcement focuses more on individual components or commercial vehicles, like buses or trucks.

Does Australia have an automotive manufacturing future? Tell us in the comments below.