According to Dow Jones, the Australian parliament on Tuesday passed legislation enabling a reduction in auto import tariffs, accompanied by A$4.2 billion in additional funds to help manufacturers adjust to the new tariff regime.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said passage of the bill through the Senate upper house delivers “a decade of reassurance” for Australia’s automotive and components industries, Dow Jones said.

Under the plan outlined by Prime Minister John Howard in December, Australia will cut auto tariffs to 5% in 2010. Auto tariffs are already scheduled to drop to 10% in 2005 from 15%. An additional A$4.2 billion will be made available as the nation’s car industry makes the transition to lower tariffs on imported products.

Between 2006 and 2010, A$2.8 billion in benefits will be made available to manufacturers and component makers under the government’s Automotive Competitiveness & Investment Scheme, or ACIS.