My focus over the past month has been on business planning with MTA Queensland staff in preparation for the next financial year, and networking with local and interstate stakeholders. I’ve commenced meeting with our corporate partners to ensure products and services to members are optimum. I’m confident we are well positioned for the coming financial year, having the resources, systems, skills and networks to progress the Association and deliver for the Membership.
To prepare for the future, a new business development team has been appointed. It will promote the MTA Queensland to the wider automotive value chain and prepare for membership growth. This means a stronger and more representative industry voice to Federal and State Governments. In conjunction with this, a member engagement plan for the next six months is in the process of being developed. An integral component is increasing and further developing our digital marketing capacity and the capability to support members desiring to create and benefit from digital marketing.
Stakeholder networking has provided the opportunity for me to introduce myself and to promote the Association as being a competent and effective advocate for Queensland’s automotive value chain. I found genuine goodwill to the MTA Queensland and an eagerness to work with us where synergies exist.
The stakeholder engagements have been several, including with the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce and the MTA South Australia. At each of these meetings there was a commitment to collaborate on key policies and issues to advance the automotive value chain. Discussions with the MTA South Australia included opportunities, which I intend to pursue, to enhance and promote training businesses through shared resources.
A significant engagement in terms of the MTA Institute was the meeting with the lead consultant advocating and developing the proposal for the new industry skills council. I emphasised the need for a commitment to advisory committees to ensure national skills development takes into consideration Queensland’s automotive industry.
On the home front, I met with the Royal Automobile Club Queensland Group Chief Executive Officer and
the General Manager of Advocacy.
We agreed to collaborate on policies of mutual interest such as transparent fuel pricing. I was particularly interested in its proposal to develop a recommended business list (mobile app) for its 1.3 million membership. I asked to work with them and to consider our MTA Queensland’s certified member values and its articulation to preferred supplier status within the application.
I attended the ‘lock up’ for the State Budget briefing by the Premier Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Treasurer Hon Curtis Pitt. It is a good budget with funding for business programs and infrastructure. I was disappointed, however, that there was no focus on training by registered training organisations. A brief is on the website for Members to peruse.
In addition, I met the State Opposition to develop an engagement strategy with the relevant shadow portfolios similar to the liaison with the Government.
A significant achievement was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of MTA Queensland with South Korea’s Jeollanamdo region’s Office of Education. Its purpose is to develop a working relationship between the two organisations to provide students from the region the opportunity to come to Australia to receive both automotive training with the MTA Institute and enjoy a period of work experience with Queensland automotive businesses.
It is a high-level partnership with mutual benefits for both entities.
We offer opportunities through pre-vocational training and our training delivery model and, in return, we learn about South Korea’s diverse manufacturing capabilities. The intention is to have a number of such study tours for international students similar to the pre-vocational programs for Australian students.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released information about business use of information technology which includes internet access, the use of broadband and web presence, social media presence and internet commerce (i.e. the placing and receiving of orders via the internet.) At 2014-15, 94.8 per cent of businesses had internet access, 48.6 per cent had a web presence and 34 per cent had a social media presence.
Business use of information technology increased across all platforms. The greatest change was in the proportion of businesses with a social media presence increasing three percentage points to 34 percent between 2013-14 and 2014-15.
This is timely information. As a consequence of the meeting that General Manager Kellie Dewar and I had with Office of Fair Trading (OFT) officers, there is a further digital service that may interest Members. The officers’ briefing included information about the Australian Business Account (ABA) which is an online service designed to help business better manage all government-related licences, permits and registrations. It is a national service delivered by a partnership of all Australian jurisdictions and local governments.
When the ABA is used, business will be able to create a free business account and use the account to deal with all levels of government, in all states and territories. To establish an account or for further information go to https://account.business.gov.au/
On the subject of digital technology, I note the Federal Government is addressing the regulatory regime for automated vehicles and has called for submissions. The MTA Queensland will make a response as it is a significant policy issue that government, industry and motorists must address. Likewise, the MTA Queensland must recognise the ‘innovation revolution’ that confronts the automotive industry chain. The MTAI is at the vanguard of the change with its hybrid electric and other developing technologies courses to train the automotive professionals and apprentices to service automated and electric vehicles.
The issue of ‘lemon laws’ has prevailed as a debatable policy issue for more than 12 months. As Kellie has indicated, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intends to undertake market study into the new car retailing industry. We welcomed the announcement in a media statement, stating that the Association recognises the high value of consumer trust and the importance of transparency and fairness in the automotive industry’s dealing with the consumer.
Members’ attention is drawn to the Queensland Government’s new public safety campaign in a bid to cut the number of quad bike deaths and injuries in the State. The new Ride ready campaign urges riders always to wear helmets and parents to keep children off adult-sized bikes.
The Reserve Bank Board left the cash rate of 1.75 per cent unchanged at its June meeting. The data before it suggested that further change in the near term was not needed as overall growth was continuing despite ‘a very large decline in business investment.’ Inflation was low and was expected to remain so particularly as growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures remained subdued.
The National Australian Bank’s business survey indicates that the non-mining sector of the economy continued their momentum with services continuing to lead the way. Mining and manufacturing continue to be weak. Business conditions were construed as ‘above average’ but business confidence declined, maybe in part due to election uncertainty but also to ‘deterioration in the manufacturing and transport sectors.’
Consumer sentiment, according to the Westpac Melbourne Institute of Consumer sentiment, remained in positive territory although slightly dipping over the past month. The result represented a consolidation of the sentiment at improved levels.
New Motor Vehicle Sales
The respected VFacts data indicates that for May 2016 Queensland, new motor vehicles sales were subdued compared with the same month in 2015 and, indeed, when contrasted with the strong sales in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In Queensland, there were 19,565 new motor vehicle sales in the current month – an increase of +253 or +1.3 per cent compared with May 2015. Nationally, there was an increase of +3.6 per cent. On a year-to-date basis, a total of 94,692 new vehicles have been sold, an increase of +764 or +0.5 per cent on the same period of 2015. Nationally, there was a rise of +3.8 per cent.
VFacts stated that passenger cars continued to be the top selling category, with the vehicles making up 39.5 per cent of the total market for May 2016, down from 43.5 per cent a year ago. The popularity of the SUV segment continued to grow steadily with sales 37.5 per cent of the May market. Light commercial vehicles also grew, accounting for 20 per cent of the total market.
And the last thing
At the top of my schedule for the coming month is the Membership growth strategy. Until August, as Henry Ford, the industrialist and the founder of the Ford motor company said, ‘execute ideas with enthusiasm …as it is the bottom of all progress.’