Australian Government fast-tracks funding to help manufacturers modernise

​The Australian Government has fast-tracked funding via the $50 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) to help local manufacturers ready to jump on modernising their businesses.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews announced the award of $48.3 million to over 200 projects at the end of April, accounting for virtually all available MMF funding.

Launched in September 2019, the MMF is designed to support transformation in small and medium manufacturing businesses. It provides co-funded grants to upgrade and modernise manufacturing processes, adopt new technologies, promote job growth, and create a more highly skilled workforce throughout the Australian manufacturing industry.

A Commitment to the Value of Australian-Made

Minister Karen Andrews said the job-creating investments could not come at a better time, as the manufacturing sector grapples with COVID-19.

“The Federal Government is committed to helping Australian manufacturers prepare for the future and to employ more Australians. More than 2,600 new jobs are expected to be created by these successful projects,” said Minister Andrews.

“We established the MMF before the coronavirus pandemic to help small and medium sized manufacturers invest in capital equipment and new technologies to transform and upgrade their manufacturing operations. Now as we face the coronavirus pandemic and look to come out the other side stronger, this investment will be more critical than ever.”

“I am determined to further strengthen Australian manufacturing and the current pandemic gives us the opportunity as a nation to reassess and commit to the values of Australian-made goods,” said Minister Andrews.

Bringing Back the Polly Waffle

The sheer variety of projects awarded funding via the MMF illustrates just how diverse, agile, and innovative Australia’s manufacturing industry really is.

Adelaide-based chocolate icon Robern Menz will establish a new production line that will see the Polly Waffle return to supermarket shelves and create 38 new jobs. Coldstream Brewery will invest in automated and innovative bottling technology, while Kookaburra Sport will focus on blending artisan skills with robotic automation for cricket ball production.

Several AMGC members also received MMF funding; ATP Science will progress their new line of collagen protein bars, ICT International will develop accredited calibration services, and Omni Tanker will invest in an automated waterjet manufacturing cell.

Transformative Technologies foster Global Competitiveness

AMGC’s National Director of Projects, Mark Peters, was the Chair of the committee tasked with evaluating MMF grant applications. Peters was delighted with the quality of the applications.

“I was particularly impressed with the number of projects that showed the adoption of transformative manufacturing technologies such as robotics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials and digital design,” said Peters.

“In many cases, the strategic decision by manufacturers to purchase new technology was predicated on reshoring the production of goods to Australia from low-cost labour countries. Australia’s need for reshoring has been exposed by the supply chain shortages we experienced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“It was also clear from the funding applications that Australian manufacturers are focused on export markets. Australian manufacturers cannot rely on demand from our local market to remain competitive. They must explore export markets to increase production volumes, achieve economies of scale and, therefore, ensure global competitiveness,” said Peters.