Victoria’s $60m manufacturing fund opens

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Applications are now open for Victoria’s $60 million manufacturing fund, which aims to support and expand local industry and boost the state’s sovereign capability.

The Manufacturing and Industry Development Fund was revealed in the Victorian budget late last year, with a focus on the manufacturing sector leading the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first plank of this initiative has now opened, with grants of up to $500,000 on offer from the $20 million Business Competitiveness Program.

Victorian Industry Recovery Minister Martin Pakula

These grants will be for manufacturers looking to support and expand their operations through the implementation of new technologies and processes.

The $20 million program will run for three years, with the grants covering up to one-third of a project’s overall costs.

“Victoria is the manufacturing state. At the core of our strength are businesses that continually innovate and lead the way in their industries,” Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said in a statement.

“We’re backing businesses to keep ahead of the pack because we know that it means more jobs for Victorians and an even stronger future for the sector.”

Eligible projects under the scheme will include the purchasing and commissioning of capital equipment, manufacturing product and processes improvements and supply chain capability development.

Another funding stream will also soon open under the Manufacturing and Industry Development Fund focusing on growing businesses for projects to help them capitalise on new opportunities.

Applications for the first round of the Business Competitiveness Program close on 20 June, with a second round expected by the end of this year.

Funding from the program will focus on areas of competitive advantage in Victoria, the government said.

“As Victoria recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, this fund aims to stimulate job creating investment by Victorian industry in sectors where Victoria has a significant competitive advantage to ensure Victorian industry is sustainable and thriving into the future,” the Victorian government said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown Australia’s manufacturing sovereign capability in the spotlight and has been a significant element of plans for the country’s economic recovery.

The federal government has opened its $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative for businesses in six key sectors to scale-up, collaborate and commercialise projects.

The federal Opposition has also unveiled plans for its own manufacturing fund, pledging $15 billion to the initiative if it wins next year’s election.

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