New investment in advanced manufacturing and research infrastructure
The 2017-18 Budget will enable major new investment in manufacturing industries and cutting-edge research infrastructure, positioning both sectors for the future.
The Budget includes vital funding to stimulate manufacturing industries to create jobs, grow businesses, improve productivity and enable Australian companies to perform well on the global stage.
This new funding builds on the Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda and existing initiatives like the Industry Growth Centres, the Cooperative Research Centres Programme, and the Entrepreneurs' Programme – that are helping Australian businesses and researchers to collaborate, innovate and succeed.
Through the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government will:
- provide over $100 million to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to boost innovation, skills and employment in advanced manufacturing
- commit $26.1 million to enable Australia to enter a strategic partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), maintaining Australia's world-renowned optical astronomical research and instrumentation capabilities, including an ongoing average annual indexed commitment of $12 million to 2027-28.
"The 2017-18 Budget provides over $100 million in new funding to boost innovation, skills and employment in advanced manufacturing to continue the transition to a new economy," Senator Sinodinos said.
The Minister said the funding included:
- $47.5 million for a new Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund, building on the existing $155 million Growth Fund that helps industry adjust to the wind-down of car manufacturing, to provide matched funds of up to a third of the project cost to South Australian and Victorian manufacturers for capital upgrades to make their businesses more competitive through innovative processes and equipment
- $4 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to support small scale and pilot research projects in advanced manufacturing, benefiting small firms and early stage researchers, allowing them to quickly move to larger scale research or commercialisation
- $20 million under the Cooperative Research Centre – Projects initiative for larger scale advanced manufacturing research projects of up to $3 million in funding over three years
- $10 million to establish Innovation Labs in South Australia and Victoria to serve industry in a variety of roles including test centre facilities and business capability development, delivered through existing government services like Entrepreneurs' Programme, Industry Growth Centres and Austrade
- $5 million to maintain engineering excellence by investing in student research at universities, technology institutions and in industry to maintain the flow of highly trained engineers to the automotive design and engineering sector
- Removing tariffs on imported vehicle prototypes and components used by Australian motor vehicle design and engineering services that operate in a global network.
"These initiatives will help our manufacturing sector to embrace new technology and new ways of doing things so they can create new jobs by capturing the economic opportunities presented by new markets, like Asia," Senator Sinodinos said.
"Australian manufacturers will be able to participate fully in a competitive global market place through evolving to high value manufacturing based on smart means of production and higher value adding products."
Senator Sinodinos said providing Australian researchers with access to the most up-to-date research infrastructure was essential to enable world-leading science and innovation.
The 2017-18 Budget included $26.1 million in new funding to optical astronomical research and instrumentation development and a commitment for ongoing average annual funding of $12 million, indexed, to 2027-28.
"This includes entering a 10-year strategic partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) from 2018, giving Australia's astronomers access to the facilities and tools they need to participate in advancing our understanding of the universe," Senator Sinodinos said.
"ESO is a world class international optical astronomy consortium operating the world's most comprehensive suite of optical telescope facilities located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, one of the premier sites for optical astronomy globally.
"The partnership offers Australia's astronomers long-term access to front-line astronomical facilities, with opportunities for Australian influence and technical and scientific input, to stimulate research and industry collaboration.
"Our decision to pursue this strategic partnership is enthusiastically supported by the Australian astronomy community and the broader research sector.
"We expect benefits from the partnership will be felt beyond the research community, by creating new opportunities for Australian businesses through international contracting, collaboration, and commercialisation in a range of industry sectors."