Wait continues for Singapore-Australia green innovation grants

Brandon How

A Singapore-Australia innovation grants program to support decarbonisation solutions will be worth $20 million, although businesses must wait for details on how to access it.

The value of the grants program was confirmed in a communique issued following a meeting between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Acting Singaporean Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in Singapore on Friday.

The $20 million Go-Green Co-Innovation program was committed to last October as a part of the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement (GEA), although the total value of the fund was not confirmed at the time.

At the time, it was expected that the fund would commence in the first quarter of 2023, but it was confirmed that “the first grant round for this new program will open later this year”, according to the communique.

The grants will be available over a four year period to June 2026. An agreement to establish a green and digital shipping corridor by 2025 was also reached during the meeting.

Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Image: Twitter

“This will bring together ports, maritime and energy operators with regulators to develop low and zero-carbon supply chains, green port services and shipping operations, and accelerate the development and uptake of green marine fuel,” the communique states.

The grants will target Australian and Singaporean small and medium-sized businesses to support development of decarbonisation solutions, as well as to “mobilise private capital to support climate action, the clean energy transition, and strengthen climate resilience in developing markets in Asia”.

According to the GEA, priority green economy sectors that will be supported through the grants program include renewable and clean energy, sustainable agribusiness and food, advanced manufacturing and sustainable materials, and waste management and circular economy.

When the GEA was signed, the federal government announced that it would commit $19.7 million to its implementation overall.

Work to finalise the Australia Singapore Food Pact by next year’s annual leaders’ meeting, which among its objectives will seek to increase Singaporean investment in Australian food research and industry development, was also discussed.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he is proud to “count Singapore as a close friend” and that his current visit is an important opportunity to advance the GEA.

“We are ambitious for what we can achieve together on the path to net zero, pushing boundaries and setting new standards to drive green trade and investment,” he said.

“Southeast Asia and ASEAN matters to Australia – that’s why I’m here this week. We are tied together by more than geography – we are linked by family, friends, business, education, tourism and a shared interest in the stability of the region into the future.

“I look forward to outlining Australia’s commitment to a better future for our region at the Shangri-La Dialogue this evening.”

Speaking to journalists, Mr Wong said that there is a “very clear alignment” between the objectives of Singapore and Australia for its economies and societies. However, he noted that to build “more resilient supply chains, particularly in critical areas like food and energy”, there must also be international collaboration in the private sector.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did not attend the annual leaders’ meeting because he is recovering from COVID-19.

The two Prime Ministers last met in Australia last October. At the beginning of May, a delegation of Singaporean ministers travelled to Australia for the 13th Singapore–Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting.

During his trip to Singapore, a new orchid hybrid was named after the Australian Prime Minister, Dendrobium Anthony Albanese.

This is an ongoing diplomatic tradition in Singapore, with orchids named also named after several politicians such as United States Vice President Kamala Harris and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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