A message from Jens Goennemann

It has been a hectic month. As usual, capturing the relevant details while keeping this letter to you succinct was a challenge, but here it goes.

We were on the road a lot in the last month.

  • Over to Perth for a CEDA roundtable with WA’s Deputy Premier Roger Cook and 25 manufacturers to discuss the state’s economic diversification;
  • Down to Melbourne to participate in a panel discussion at the All Energy Expo, with our good friends at Energy Renaissance plus manufacturers GPC Electronics and Lithium Australia; and
  • Up to Darwin for October Business Month and presenting alongside Chief Minister Natasha Fyles.

Speaking of the Northern Territory (NT) government, their $7.5 million Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund, administered by AMGC, continues to support standout manufacturers in the NT.

On October 21, we were delighted to share news of Arctic Installations’ collaborative project with MDI Systems, Rapid Engineering NT and James Cook University, commercialising cyclone-standard insulated panels

Assisted by $500,000 in co-funding from AMEF, the $2.4 million project will lead to the launch of a new locally-manufactured product by the end of 2023 and an expected 25 new jobs and an additional $15 million of revenue over five years.

A fortnight ago we were, like many of you, watching the handing down of the new government’s first budget.

I would call it a budget for a budget, in the way that you sometimes say “a plan for a plan,” though I don’t mean it negatively.

Money has been set aside, and some clawed back from elsewhere, for the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF). Only $50 million was announced for establishment costs for the NRF, which the Federal Government aims to have up and running in 2023.

Some are disappointed at the pace, but I don’t think it’s worth rushing into anything so serious and with such a dollar figure attached to it.

As a person leading an organisation required to invest public money, we do not take the responsibility of that lightly. Every dollar is accounted for, and so it should be.

We’re happy to see the Albanese government show an intention to get a plan right – ahead of (hopefully) filling in some details about the NRF in the May budget. We are also eager to, of course, put the interests of manufacturers forward at every opportunity during the government’s consultations in the interim.

Lastly, we’ve had plenty of good news about advanced manufacturers receiving private money to do what they must: scale and reach global customers.

Elsewhere in this newsletter we take a look at some AMGC alumni who have completed Series A and Series B rounds in the last 12 months.

One of them, environmental technology business Samsara, announced at the start of November that it had raised $54 million, enabling them to open their first commercial-scale facility in 2024. There, using processes originating from the Australian National University, it will take waste plastic and use enzymes to produce 20,000 tonnes per annum of useful chemicals a year for resale.

Can you imagine hearing five years ago that a one year-old manufacturing startup, commercialising university IP, had raised that much to develop so promising an idea?

I can’t either. And that makes me incredibly happy.