Businesses will have just one month over summer to apply for the second round of the Federal Government’s manufacturing grants program.
The program was brought forward to ensure winners are announced before the upcoming federal election.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor announced last Thursday that $280 million in total grants will be offered.
The matched funding is available through Round 2 of the Integration and Translation Streams of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).
Applications will open this week for businesses in the six National Manufacturing Priority Areas;
- Medical Products,
- Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing,
- Food and Beverage,
- Recycling and Clean Energy,
The space, resources, and medical products tranches will open for applications from 13 December, while the remaining three sectors will open on 17 December. Applications for all six sectors will close on 14 January.
Focus on manufacturing
The funding, available through two different streams, will help manufacturers break into new markets and translate ideas into commercial outcomes.
The Integration Stream aims to help companies access domestic and global supply chains and produce/distribute quality products and services in new markets.
The Translation Stream of the fund is intended to assist manufacturers looking to translate research and ideas into commercial outcomes.
Minister Taylor said, “Our manufacturing sector is going from strength to strength, with more than a million Australians employed in manufacturing and strong confidence in the future of the sector.
“We know our manufacturers will lead the charge when it comes to our economic recovery from the pandemic – and that’s why we’re investing in them to help secure our future.”
Modern Manufacturing Initiative
The MMI is the centerpiece of the Federal Government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy. The Government hopes the program will position Australia to become a globally recognised, high-quality, and sustainable manufacturing nation.
“Our Modern Manufacturing Initiative is already investing in phenomenal projects that will support businesses to scale up, introduce new products to market, strengthen our supply chains and create more local jobs,” said Minister Taylor.
“This matched funding will help businesses turn innovative research and ideas into reality, as well as unlocking new opportunities and investment both here at home and for overseas export.”
As applications close in mid-January, the $280 million in funding will be rolled out and announced in the lead-up to the next federal election, likely to be held in May 2022.
Applications for the first round of Modern Manufacturing Initiative funding closed in September. Assessments are expected to take 19 weeks, meaning successful applicants of Round 1 are also likely to be announced before the election.
As pre-campaigning begins for next year’s election, manufacturing appears to be a key election battleground. As such, the MMI has come into sharp focus.
Both major parties have positioned at-home manufacturing as a crucial topic. The Government has placed Australian manufacturing at the core of Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
The Opposition is promoting their A Future Made in Australia campaign, which will focus on creating local manufacturing jobs and skills. They have also pledged $15 billion to build a COVID-19 Reconstruction Fund.
The Opposition has criticised the MMI, calling it a “baked-in” rort after it was revealed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison would have the final say on who does and doesn’t receive funding under the program.
Industry, Innovation and Science Australia will review applications and make recommendations to the industry minister, who will then recommend the funding to the Prime Minister.
The government has rejected a Senate order to release the departmental briefing documents related to the manufacturing fund.