Government announces $100m investment in advanced manufacturing  

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The Australian Government will invest $100 million in a new Advanced Manufacturing Fund to create jobs, improve productivity and boost innovation.

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Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos said the funding – to be delivered through the 2017-18 Budget – will support a number of initiatives that would help the country’s manufacturing sector embrace new technologies and capture the economic opportunities presented by new markets, like Asia.

“The 2017-18 Budget provides over $100 million in new funding to boost innovation, skills and employment in advanced manufacturing to continue the transition to a new economy,” the Minister said.

The funding includes $47.5 million for a new Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund, building on the existing $155 million Growth Fund that helps industry diversify into other high value sectors ahead of the wind-down of car manufacturing.

According to the Minister, this initiative will provide matched funds of up to a third of the project cost to South Australian and Victorian manufacturers for capital upgrades to make their businesses more competitive through innovative processes and equipment.

The Fund will also allocate $4 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to support small scale and pilot research projects in advanced manufacturing, allowing small firms and early stage researchers to quickly move to larger scale research or commercialisation.

A further $20 million have been appropriated for larger scale advanced manufacturing research projects of up to $3 million in funding over three years, in addition to $10 million for the establishment of Innovation Labs in South Australia and Victoria.

Mr Sinodinos said these Innovation Labs would serve industry in a variety of roles including test centre facilities and business capability development, delivered through existing government services like Entrepreneurs’ Programme, Industry Growth Centres and Austrade.

Additionally, the Government will invest $5 million in student research at universities, technology institutions and in industry to maintain the flow of highly trained engineers to the automotive design and engineering sector, and will also remove tariffs on imported vehicle prototypes and components used by Australian motor vehicle design and engineering services that operate in a global network.

“These initiatives will help our manufacturing sector to embrace new technology and new ways of doing things so they can create new jobs by capturing the economic opportunities presented by new markets, like Asia,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“Australian manufacturers will be able to participate fully in a competitive global market place through evolving to high value manufacturing based on smart means of production and higher value adding products.”