2024/25 state budget must address skills shortage and EV incentivisation or risk further crippling the automotive industry

The Motor Traders' Association of New South Wales (MTA NSW) has outlined a comprehensive wish list for the upcoming state budget, aimed at supporting the evolving needs of the state's automotive industry and accelerating the transition to EVs.

Encompassing three main areas of focus – workforce development, consumer incentives for EVs, and infrastructure expansion – the industry association is urging the state government to address the automotive sector’s crippling skills shortage and expedite the upskilling of the automotive workforce to support increased adoption of EVs throughout the state. 

The impending shift towards EVs presents both opportunities and challenges for the automotive landscape. Recent trends indicate a rising demand for EVs Australia-wide, with EVs and hybrid vehicles accounting for a record 23.5% of new vehicle sales in March 2024.

However, this transition poses significant challenges for the automotive sector, the majority of which are small and often family-owned businesses that don’t have the time or resources to invest in upskilling. Recognising the importance of equipping the workforce with essential skills, MTA NSW stresses the need for comprehensive training in EV technology to ensure safety and proficiency as these vehicles become more common.

"The automotive industry is at a critical point where we must transition towards a future dominated by electric vehicles. To navigate this shift successfully, MTA NSW is urging the state government to invest in training programs and infrastructure development that will benefit consumers, automotive businesses, and their staff,” says Stavros Yallouridis, CEO of MTA NSW.

In addition to greater access to EV training, MTA is advocating for the reinstatement of rebates on the purchase of electric and zero-emission vehicles, the removal of stamp duty on new EVs, and funding for an expanded network of electric charging stations statewide.

The budget submission also addresses the industry’s persistent and crippling need for skilled workers which has seen 35% of occupations in the automotive industry classed as being in ‘shortage’.

To alleviate the industry pressure caused by this shortage, MTA is recommending the government invest in the development of high school skills programs and new pathways for people interested in transitioning into the automotive industry from other sectors.

This includes the development of localised programs that address region-specific workforce shortages by providing equitable access to training opportunities across NSW.

"We are urging the state government to take these recommendations onboard, not only to facilitate a smooth transition to clean transportation but to also foster a thriving automotive industry capable of meeting the evolving needs of Australian drivers," added Stavros Yallouridis.

With approximately six million vehicles on NSW roads, small and medium-sized enterprises form the backbone of the automotive industry. MTA NSW warns that if the government doesn’t soon invest in attracting skilled workers and adequate training opportunities, the industry may buckle under the pressure of the evolving automotive landscape.
To read our full submission, click here.
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