Australian manufacturing, as well as the science and research that underpins it, is a vital plank in the federal government’s Economic Recovery Plan to lead the nation out of the COVID-19 crisis.
The 2020-21 Budget announced last night includes an investment of $1.5 billion over four years for the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to allow Australian manufacturers to scale up, compete internationally and create more jobs.
The Budget also includes an additional $459.2 million in funding for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) over four years to address the impacts of COVID-19 on its commercial activities and ensure it is able to continue essential scientific research.
The centrepiece of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which will support manufacturing projects focused on building long-term business collaboration at scale.
Helping researchers achieve commercial outcomes
The Modern Manufacturing Initiative will support projects within six National Manufacturing Priorities: resources technology and critical minerals processing, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence, and space.
Industry will be engaged to help develop tailored road maps for each of the priority sectors.
The funding will support researchers to achieve commercial outcomes and bring new products to market.
It will also assist local business, particularly SMEs, to deliver products and services into global value chains.
Other big-ticket items include:
- $107.2 million to identify and address critical supply chain vulnerabilities by providing manufacturers support through the new Supply Chain Resilience Initiative
- $52.8 million for a second round of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which co-funds capital investments that help manufacturers scale-up, invest in new technologies, create and maintain jobs, and upskill their workers
- $30 million to the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to continue to support projects, in consultation with other Industry Growth Centres, to build the capability and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in alignment with the National Manufacturing Priorities
- $20 million to Industry Growth Centres, including the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, Food Innovation Australia, METS Ignited and MTPConnect in support of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said the investments highlight the Government’s commitment to making science and technology work for industry, which is a key pillar of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
“A resilient and competitive manufacturing sector should be at the heart of a modern Australian economy and this Strategy will create jobs, drive our economy forward and make Australia more secure,” the Minister said.
“When you combine our new Modern Manufacturing Strategy with the increased funding for the CSIRO, you have a powerful base from which to turbo-charge job creation.”
The Budget also includes measures to support the goal of Australia becoming a leading digital economy by 2030, with $29.7 million to help Australian businesses better use digital tools to readjust their operations and processes in a post-COVID economy.
This investment will accelerate the adoption of digital technologies by businesses and create jobs in sectors with high potential for growth. It will also support the use of technology to make business regulatory compliance easier, Ms Andrews said.
The Government is committed to realising the potential of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Budget includes:
- $35.9 million to expand the Boosting Female Founders Initiative.
- $10 million to extend the successful Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grants program.
- $2 million to extend the Women in STEM Ambassador initiative – an important part of the Government’s Women’s Economic Security Statement.
The Government is also building sovereign capability in life-saving nuclear medicines with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) receiving an additional $238.1 million over the next four years.
Earlier this year the Government invested $48.3 million to support around 200 projects worth $215 million, which are expected to create 2,600 jobs.