WA commits $43 million for manufacturing projects

Brandon How

The Western Australian government has awarded grants worth $43 million for technology advanced manufacturing projects through its Investment Attraction Fund, a part of an ambitious drive to diversify the state economy.

The manufacturing projects span from the energy and medical technologies sectors to the production of infrastructure sensor platforms as well as an automated manufacturing process for mining load and haul equipment.

This includes $4 million for local firm Vital Trace that has developed a fetal monitoring technology that aims to improve accuracy over current practices and reduce complications for mothers and babies.

The firm has previously received government funding though industry growth centre MTPConnect and the federal government’s CRC-P program.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook and Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti. Image: James Carmody/ABC News

Beyond manufacturing, there was also a $5 million grant awarded to DUG Technology for development of a data centre powered by renewable energy. This will be handed to DUG over a two-year period in line with project milestones.

The DUG grant will fund up to half the cost of construction on the first data hall and its connected infrastructure. Overall, the Geraldton High Performance Computing Campus is designed to house 10 data halls.

A total of $5.8 million was also awarded for critical minerals projects, including development of a high purity quartz sand manufacturing process, a high purity alumina project, and an Extractive Metallurgy Research and Education Centre by Murdoch University.

There was also $27.7 million worth of grants for projects to support renewable hydrogen and biodiesel, although the largest $15 million grant was for a facility that also features a liquefied natural gas plant.

The Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre will now move to a final investment decision for development of the Kwinana Energy Transformation Hub (KETH), a demonstration and training facility for renewable hydrogen and liquefied natural gas.

Phase one of KETH will include hydrogen, training, and research and development facilities. According to KETH chief executive Simona Chady, there are already 50 research projects planned for the hub.

Following the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook in December 2022, the Western Australian announced an expansion of the Investment Attraction Fund (IAF) by $105 million, taking the total committed to the fund to $285 million.

Premier and Minister for State and Industry Development Roger Cook said the Western Australian government programs like the IAF will help secure the state’s economic prosperity for generations.

“We’re building on WA’s economic strengths, and embracing new and innovative industries – positioning our State at the forefront of the global energy transition,” he said.

“We’re backing local companies to manufacture here in WA, to value-add, and to take on the world in developing high-tech products for the future. I’m proud to lead a Government focused on the future – and making sure jobs and the economy remain strong.”

InnovationAus.com will host a Capability Papers forum focused on Manufacturing and Energy Transition at the Museum of Sydney on August 15. Join industry and research leaders, together with state and federal ministers for this important discussion by reserving you seat here.  

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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