NRF to address blind spots in manufacturing investments – says Ai Group

Image credit: Ai Group

The National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Bill will be critical in addressing financial sector blind spots when it comes to investing in key industries such as manufacturing for scale and transformation, Innes Willox, Australian Industry Group chief executive said in a passage.

Willox pointed out that effectively addressing these gaps around the board table would require a variety of skills beyond those of traditional financial professionals.

“The NRF is a vehicle that could help position Australia to benefit from the digitalisation, automation, artificial intelligence and the clean energy revolution that is remaking global industry,” Willox remarked.

He further emphasised NRF’s role to capitalise on emerging opportunities in areas where Australia has demonstrated or has the ability to establish competitive advantages. 

Meanwhile, a key component of the NRF’s success will be ensuring that the workforce skill criteria for enterprises receiving money are met,  the official said. 

This will, in turn, require close and effective consultation with Jobs and Skills Australia and other relevant agencies.

“The NRF is only one tool the Government can use to encourage investment and diversification within Australian industry,” Willox noted.

According to the Ai Group official, the success of the NRF depends on a healthy pipeline of Australian businesses that are prepared for investment.

It will also rely on well-connected, robust research and innovation ecosystems that place a high priority on keeping up with global trends. 

Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic welcomed the passage of the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund Corporation Bill through the Senate on Tuesday.

Husic noted that the fund is “one of the largest peacetime investments in Australian manufacturing capability.”