Govt unveils $145m supply chain shore up


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Coalition announced $145 million in manufacturing, supply chain and research commercialisation investments on Friday, including new facilities, the latest ‘Trailblazer’ university, supply chain monitoring programs, and a strategic semiconductor plan.

The innovation announcement blitz made a week out from the election follows significant technology and manufacturing policies from Labor this week and was revealed by the Prime minister in the ultra-marginal seat of Chisholm.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The largest grant of $53 million is for a new animal health vaccine research and manufacturing known as the Australian Animal Health and Manufacturing Innovation Hub. The new facility will help secure supplies of critical veterinarian medicines, Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister also revealed the next Trailblazer university will be led by Deakin university and focus on translating research in clean energy and recycling. Deakin will partner with RMIT, Swinburne the University of Southern Queensland, Federation University and 21 industry partners on the new project.

It will receive $50 million from the federal government, the same amount as its fellow recycling and clean energy Trailblazer from the University of New South Wales and the University of Newcastle, which was announced two days earlier.

“We expect this [new Trailblazer], based on the submission of all of those partners, to develop more than 100 new patents,” Mr Morrison said.

“That’s how you grow a strong economy. That’s how you get that better future by investing in the things that change the game for Australia at a time of great disruption and you seize the opportunity.”

Another $15 million will go to projects to improve the government’s capacity to “map, model, and monitor” critical supply chains, including $4.3 million for CSIRO’s Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool, $1.3 million for a strategic national plan for semiconductors and another $10 million to map and monitor the supply chain.

18 semiconductor and water treatment chemical projects will share in a further $27 million in grants from the second round of the Supply Chain Resilience program.

Extel Technologies received one of the supply chain grants for $1.4 million and hosted the Prime Minister and local MP Gladys Liu for the announcements in its facilities in the ultra-marginal seat of Chisholm.

It was the fourth time the Prime Minister has visited the seat during the election campaign.

“Gladys knows how important jobs are here in Chisholm,” Mr Morrison said.

“And how important the future of advanced manufacturing is here at Chisholm, and how important it is that we get the collaboration between the university sector, our scientists, our entrepreneurs, our process engineers, right here in plants such as this.”

Earlier in the day, Federal Labor announced it would create a $1 billion Critical Technologies Fund to invest in cutting edge technologies. Labor this week also pledged to “kickstart” battery manufacturing in Australia with a $100 million precinct in Queensland, a new Industry Growth Centre and a national strategy.

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