The Australian Government's (both Labor and Coalition) over the last 15 years have conspicuously failed to support the automotive industry in the face of the high exchange rate caused by our enormous mineral exports. This is in opposition to the way they supported the banks via all sorts of funny schemes.
As a result Australia is the only country I have ever heard of which has decided that the auto industry is not a good idea.
So first the assembly workers went. Then the factories went. That meant there was no critical volume for precision machining, so then the toolmakers went. That meant the local aircraft maintenance industry couldn't get the stuff they needed, so aircraft maintenance was offshored. Meanwhile all the suppliers of parts had to diversify into less rigorous but less profitable lines. So the engineers went.
I'm lucky, we still design and develop cars for manufacture all over the world (except in Australia), so our product development centre is expanding.But an industry that used to employ around 50-100 000 well paid highish technology or skilled jobs is practically dead, with maybe 2000 people left.
So escaping the GFC probably is not due to the incredible foresight of the gummint, just lucky.