Last engineers and last chance

Riley Riley

Time is running out for what’s left of Australia’s automotive industry.

This week 100 of Holden’s engineers finished work at Port Melbourne for the last time.

In August, another 100 — the last 100 — are set to finish up at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.

They represent a valuable and irreplaceable asset that must be preserved and put to use, warns the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A).

Chairman and CEO Adrian Feeney said the engineers are a priceless brains trust that could help launch a new automotive venture such as the electric police car project the SAE-A announced this week.

“I call on federal and state governments to support our feasibility study to get this project going, and to save our engineering brains trust while we still have it,” he said.

“The Federal Government has shown its willingness to support automotive initiatives with the recent Automotive Innovation Lab Access Grants administered by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews.

“Added to that, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg are clearly committed to rebuilding our post-COVID economy, and the car industry can be part of that.”

Mr Feeney said the SAE-A electric police car project had generated strong support from Australian automotive suppliers, from vehicle design to complete electric powertrains.

“All it needs is the political will and modest financial support to do a feasibility study and harness all the diverse capabilities we have on our doorstep,” he said.

“The Holden engineers are a world class team, but their knowledge will soon be dissipated as they seek new jobs in other industries and other countries.

“SAE-A is ready to ramp up the police car project – all we need is a small amount of funding to make it happen, and we can have some solid answers within six months.

“With the government focused on building a clever, self-sufficient post-COVID Australia, we hope the Holden shutdown might be a catalyst for the start of something special, instead of the end.”

The new police car could look like this rendering by transportation design company Delineate.

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