Topics: Modern Manufacturing Strategy
David Koch: The Government is committing $1.5 billion to create more local jobs in manufacturing. It’s part of the newly announced Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which will focus on six targeted areas. These priorities are resources and minerals, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence, and also space, which each area has been identified as a place where Australia has a competitive advantage and in alignment with our strategic interests.
Joining me now is the Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews. Minister, appreciate your time. For any Australian manufacturing businesses involved in one of these priority areas, what sort of Government support are they going to get?
Karen Andrews: Well, this is a $1.5 billion package that is going to support manufacturers in those strategic areas to build scale, to become competitive, and in many areas, to become more resilient. So, what we will be doing as a Government is working with those particular industries to build them, to make sure that we’re creating the jobs of the future, so this is a real opportunity for manufacturers to build and to grow right here in Australia.
David Koch: So, what will it be? Grants, tax incentives, that sort of thing?
Karen Andrews: The program that we’re unveiling today is very much grant focused, but what it does, is it has very different parts to it. So, one of those streams is collaboration which is the building of scale that we need here in Australia. We’ve talked about industry and researchers collaborating, this is about businesses coming together to actually grow and develop and build scale.
David Koch: And does the Government have an internal policy to buy Australian? To give Australian manufacturing priorities?
Karen Andrews: Look, procurement is clearly an issue that we are focusing our attention on. It sits primarily with the Finance Minister, but in my role as the Industry Minister, I will certainly be doing everything that I can to make sure that we are supporting Australian businesses and Australian manufacturers.
David Koch: So, at the moment, Australian manufacturers don’t get priority in terms of that procurement?
Karen Andrews: Look, there’s a mixture of responses from various states and territories, in terms of the support that is immediately provided to businesses. Procurement is clearly something that all governments should be focused on to support Australian businesses, but we want to make sure that our businesses here are competitive. This proposal is not about subsidising businesses; this is about setting our very strategic direction where we can maximise on the strength that we already have, and we can create jobs because we know we already have strengths there.
David Koch: Karen Andrews, appreciate your time. Thank you.
Karen Andrews: Pleasure.