Deloitte has delivered a series of reports to the federal government on supply chain resilience, as money continues to pour into manufacturing and building Australia’s sovereign capability.
As part of its flagship $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the federal government set aside $107.2 million for the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI), which will look to provide information on supply chains, identify gaps and take action to address them through grants funding.
It comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on Australia’s sovereign capability in manufacturing and the significant gaps in its supply chain.
Deloitte was awarded a contract in early March running for five weeks worth $242,000. The contract was only made public this week after the work had already been completed. Deloitte was paid more than $48,000 per week to complete the reports.
A spokesperson for the Department of Industry said the reports focused on Australia’s supply chain resilience around common medicine, personal protective equipment, and agricultural production chemicals.
“Deloitte assisted the department with a robust and comprehensive analysis of supply chain vulnerabilities for identified critical product categories,” the spokesperson told InnovationAus.
“The analysis will inform assessment of possible supply options to address identified vulnerabilities.”
From July, businesses will be able to apply for grants funding under the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative to assist to “establish or scale a capability that addresses an identified supply chain vulnerability for a critical product or input”.
Through the initiative, the government is aiming to build an understanding of Australia’s critical supply chain resilience, in normal circumstances and in possible crises, and identify which goods are needed in a time of crisis and the current manufacturing capabilities in these areas.
“We will work with industry to identify supply options to address vulnerabilities in domestic and international supply chains for identified critical products,” the government said.
The Department conducted a consultation process on the initiative late last year.
Supply chain resilience and sovereign capability are a key focus of the government’s wider Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
The $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative fund is now open for all six areas of advantage it will focus on: resources technology and critical minerals processing, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space.
Direct grants for public-private collaboration and commercialisation are on offer through the initiative.
Last month the federal Opposition unveiled its own manufacturing policy with a $15 billion fund to commercialise innovation and bring manufacturing back onshore. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the fund would rebuild Australia’s sovereign capability and create jobs and diversify the economy.
The state governments are also investing heavily in manufacturing and supply chain resilience.
Last week the Victorian government opened its own $60 million manufacturing fund, aiming to boost the state’s sovereign capability. The first plank of the fund is the $20 million Business Competitive Program, which will offer grants to local manufacturers looking to support and expand their operations through new technologies and processes.