The Coalition will hand Australia’s manufacturing sector a $50 million boost as part of the newly created Manufacturing Modernisation Fund.
Under the fund, which would be matched by $110 million from industry, $20 million targets smaller-scale investments in technologies and efficiency improvements, while $30 million will be used for larger scale transformative technology investments of up to $1 million each.
Examples of transformative technologies include 3D printing, robotics and automation, advanced materials, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and nanotechnologies.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the fund would help local manufacturers expand and prepare for the future, including for Industry 4.0.
“The Coalition Government understands how important manufacturing and manufactured goods are to Australia. About 7 per cent of the Australian workforce is employed in manufacturing,” she said.
“We want to make sure that our Australian businesses are able to expand, to tap into global markets because when they do that, they will expand their business here in Australia and they will employ more people.
“My message to the mums and dads of Australia is, again that Australian manufacturing is alive and well and there will be jobs for your kids in manufacturing under a Coalition Government.”
The fund builds on the government’s existing $100 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund, plus the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, support through the Entrepreneurs Program, and $40 million for the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would back Australian manufacturers to tap into global markets to reach more customers and create more jobs, pointing out how the fund is expected to stimulate $160 million worth of business investment in new technologies and processes.
“Our plan for a stronger economy will help take Australian products to the world backed in by the reputation our manufacturers have built over the years,” he said.