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29 April 2021

Senator Rex Patrick has today opened the Adelaide-based Auto Innovation Centre (AIC), the second of its kind in Australia, for which he helped secure funding.

“I am proud to have secured funding for this important facility to assist the aftermarket automotive industry in the wake of the closing down of car manufacturing in Australia. Many industry players transitioned to other areas, some stayed and the Auto Innovation Centre is intended to assist them in a more difficult product development environment,” Senator Patrick said.

“The car industry closure was totally unnecessary but it happened and we needed to deal with the consequences. I’m pleased to have worked with the AAAA to help establish something meaningful for our industry. The Auto Innovation Centre will assist manufacturers of aftermarket automotive products such as bull bars, suspension systems and roof racks, that need access to data on proposed and new vehicles, and access to actual vehicles, so that they can design and test their products.”

“The Auto Innovation Centres in both Adelaide and Melbourne will allow our Aussie manufacturers to get access to a new vehicle and test equipment at the Centre using pooled resources, rather than each company paying for that access individually," Senator Patrick said. "This will represent both a huge saving and great opportunity for the industry.”

Joining the Senator in welcoming those in attendance and speaking of the vision of the AIC was Luke Truskinger, AIC Managing Director, and Stuart Charity, CEO of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).

“The Auto Innovation Centre was the fruition of over 5 years work by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and was modelled on the SEMA Garage in the U.S.” said Stuart Charity.

“Thanks to Senator Rex Patrick and the Federal Government investment, we were able to bring this incredible asset to the aftermarket industry to reality. Now both facilities are up and running it will increase the industry’s access to the technologies, services and training and development opportunities the AIC can offer for their direct benefit.” 

The opening of the Adelaide facility comes after the first AIC opened in December 2019 in Melbourne.

The funding package was negotiated by both Senator Patrick, and his predecessor Nick Xenophon. The funding allowed for the establishment of both facilities as well as grants for part-makers to use the development and testing services.