The government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative is now open to defence manufacturers in conjunction with a 10-year roadmap for the sector released last week.
Defence is the penultimate sector to be added to the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), a $1.3 billion program set up to fund six priority manufacturing sectors and help Australia’s post COVID-19 economic recovery.
Defence joined medical products, critical minerals, food and beverage, and space as eligible sectors on Wednesday with recycling and clean energy expected to be added soon.
Defence manufacturing projects that meet eligibility under the MMI translation and integration streams can now apply for funding, with a larger collaboration stream to open in the coming months.
An industry-led defence manufacturing roadmap was also released by the freshly minted Industry Minister Christian Porter.
“The road map identifies opportunities for defence manufacturers to build on existing areas of strength such as military vehicle and aircraft manufacturing, naval shipbuilding and marine hardware production, cutting-edge digital technologies such as 3D printing, and explosives and propellants,” Mr Porter said in a statement.
“The road map also identifies opportunities for Australian manufacturers to build scale and capability in three key areas: investment in the defence sector, defence exports and adapting advanced technologies to the defence sector or for civilian application.”
The road map sets defence manufacturing industry goals for two, five, and 10 years from now.
Under the plan, manufacturers will invest more in defence priority capabilities and improving linkages within the ecosystem within two years. In five years, it is hoped smaller manufacturers will have scaled up and there will be greater participation across the board in defence supply chains.
The decade target is to have more Australian businesses participating in local and global defence supply chains and more local innovation and IP being supplied to the Australian Defence Force.
There are growth opportunities for manufacturers within the defence sector, to international markets and through cross sector applications, according to the roadmap.
The plan identifies a market to support the ADF with more drones and special equipment such as night vision googles. While armoured vehicles, advanced radar systems and patrol boats could be exported by Australian manufacturers.
Cross-sector applications like sensors for space equipment and medical diagnostic tools could also be leveraged by local manufacturers, according to the roadmap.