Minister to release ACIL Allen Industry Growth Centre report

Brandon How

The federal government has committed to releasing a review of the Industry Growth Centre program that sat with the former Coalition government since 2020.

Minister for Science and Industry Ed Husic announced the release of the long-awaited performance review at a Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) conference on Wednesday.

He also re-committed to the government’s election commitment to establish a new Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre, although the details are yet to be confirmed.

The review, which was undertaken by consultancy ACIL Allen, is largely positive about the impact of the Industry Growth Centre (IGC) initiative on participating businesses, with Husic suggesting they have the potential to serve as catalysers and mentors for green tech.

However, a spokesperson for the minister said the government will not necessarily act on the recommendations, given they were made two years ago.

The review will be published following the period of mourning for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. As part of the mourning period a National Memorial service will be held on September 22, followed by a special sitting of Parliament on September 23. Parliament will then return from September 26.

Science and Industry Minister Ed Husic with quantum leader Michelle Simmons earlier this year.

Minister Husic told attendees of the AIIA conference on tech and sustainability that he recognises that the previous government has had some success with the IGC initiative.

“I recently received an impact evaluation report on those growth centres that found they have supported Australian industries to be more competitive, resilient, and sustainable. I’m looking forward to examining the report in further depth and working with the Department of Industry and Science to bring it to public light, and hopefully that’ll happen soon.”

“The success of the growth centres show they had potential to be effective catalysers and mentors for green tech initiatives. Our Australian Made Battery plan will see the establishment of a Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre building on that success.”

In the Coalition’s last federal Budget in March, the six existing IGCs did not receive additional funding.

Established in 2015, the growth centres were supposed to transition towards a self-funded model but this was postponed by two years. The centres were then left to compete for the remaining $18.8 million of unallocated IGC funding.

Parts of the IGC review leaked to noted that the IGCs would “unlikely…become self-sustaining” as similar centres across the world do not operate on purely private sector funding. The leak also noted that the centres have been impactful on the participating businesses despite limited resourcing.

Last year the Coalition blocked the release of the report through Senate Estimates, Freedom of Information requests, and a Senate order. When the former government refused to comply with the Senate order they stated that they were still in “the final stages of its deliberations”, meaning they were not in a position to table the report.

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