Looking Back, Looking Ahead:
Marking 10 Years Since the End of Australian Car Manufacturing was Declared


A one-day research symposium,

Adelaide, Wednesday 28 February 2024

PDF Downloadable here

Proudly supported by:

‘Future Work Future Communities’ Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project

Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on ‘Putting the “Just” into Just Transitions’

This one-day research symposium has been organised to mark 10 years since Australia’s last carmakers announced plans to close domestic manufacturing operations. By February 2014, all remaining carmakers had announced plans to end the domestic manufacture and assembly of passenger cars over the following 3-4 years. By October 2017, Australia’s car manufacturing industry had shut down completely.

The 10th anniversary of these announcements represents a timely moment to reflect on the significance of these decisions, to take stock of public and academic debates about the demise of domestic car manufacturing, and to continue critical discussion about the future of manufacturing in Australia, and the role of manufacturing in prosperous societies. The symposium has been organised to bring together academic researchers, industry partners and practitioners to discuss issues related to the decline of Australia’s car manufacturing industry, including findings from the major Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded project, Future Work Future Communities (FWFC), which aims to shed light on the changes in Australian workplaces and communities which have been shaped by new business models, economic restructuring and disruptive technologies.

The symposium is proudly hosted by the FWFC project led by the University of South Australia and its project partners (see FWFC website for details). It is co-funded by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on ‘Putting the “Just” into Just Transitions’, a three-year project which aims to support symposia internationally which develops scholarship and policy on just transitions in response to industrial, environmental and technological change, including plant closures, job losses and labour market transformations. 

We welcome abstracts from academic researchers, Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, and practitioners in industry, policymaking, or community organisations. Abstracts will be considered on topics related, but not necessarily limited to the following:

Funding is available to support the participation of Early-Career Researchers (ECRs), HDR students, low-income or unwaged researchers, or researchers from outside the academy, e.g., from industry, policymaking, or community organisations, including potential to subsidise travel and accommodation for participants travelling from outside Adelaide/South Australia. Participants will need to deliver a brief presentation of their work to other participants at the workshop.

Successful applicants will generally be expected to participate at the symposium in-person. While full written papers are not mandatory, we intend to utilise the symposium to develop papers for publication in a special issue of a journal in the broad field of regional studies or in a cognisant outlet within the social, political, or economic sciences. Preference will be given to applicants who indicate their interest and capacity to participate in this process of publication. 

Applications should be emailed to [email protected] by Mon 30 October, 2023. Applications should include: the title of the paper; an abstract (maximum 250 words); the name and institution/organisation of the presenter(s), and; a brief biographical statement (maximum 50 words) for each presenter/author. Applicants may wish to briefly address any additional issues of relevance in the body of the email, e.g., request/eligibility for funding, relevance of the proposed paper to symposium themes, interest/capacity in publishing a full written paper for a journal special issue, etc. All applicants will be notified of outcomes by mid-November 2023. All enquiries should be directed via the email listed above.