Minister Husic affirms industry grants made by Morrison gov’t

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Industry Minister Ed Husic has approved a series of modern manufacturing grants, which were scrutinised for the way the Morrison government announced the eligible applicants. 

Sixty-eight grants were announced the under the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) program between the start of March and May 17. 

A total of 502 applications have been deemed eligible for the program. 

The evaluation looked into the existence and appropriateness of grant rules and whether they were followed; the grants’ compliance with advice from independent panels; and whether they delivered significant value for taxpayers. 

The review found that the announced grants were all supported by an independent assessment committee and the processes adhered to the publicly available Grant Opportunity Guidelines. 

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources has now begun the contracting process for successful companies that secured their slots under the MMI program. 

According to a press release issued by Husic’s office, the government failed to inform 400 applicants they were unsuccessful under the Translation, Integration, and Collaboration streams. Only 34 applicants were notified. 

“Given the former government’s track record on grants, it was entirely appropriate this program was closely examined, a process which started in June,” Husic said, defending his decision to review the grants.  

Liberal leader and Shadow Industry Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement in July that the review put jobs at risk, claiming that the uncertainty posed by the examination would lead to job losses. 

“Businesses are relying on the continuity of these commitments to hire apprentices and make investment decisions,” Ley noted. 

A separate examination of the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative has provided a green light for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to begin the contracting process with all 18 successful applicants.