Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government's stable and certain approach to industry is supporting jobs growth and business investment by backing manufacturing?
I thank the member for his question, and I thank him for his very great interest in manufacturing businesses, particularly manufacturing businesses in his electorate of Ryan. And that was clearly on display last week when I joined the member in his electorate to announce the opening of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. We visited an outstanding business in his electorate: Emesent. It was formed in October of last year following about 10 years of research with the CSIRO. Since that time, they have become world leaders in autonomous drone technology. Their workforce has tripled, and they're exporting to around a dozen countries, and all of that has happened in less than 12 months. But, importantly, they're currently going through a recruitment phase. They're looking to recruit more people, and they're certainly planning to recruit more people over the coming months and years as they expand.
The coalition announced the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund during the election campaign, and now we are delivering that fund. This is a $160 million fund for manufacturers—small and medium enterprises. It comprises $50 million in funding support from the Commonwealth government and $110 million from industry, so there's a co-commitment from the government and from the businesses themselves. The fund is now open, so small and medium enterprises can now make application for grants of between $50,000 and $1 million to look at upgrading the technology that they are currently using to make sure that they become more productive, that they're able to grow their business and so that they can look to employ more people.
It's important to us that we grow manufacturing businesses here in Australia, and let me say that, under the Morrison government, with the certainty and the stability that we offer, Australia will always be a manufacturing nation. We want to help make sure that Australian manufacturing industry continues to be world class. We want to make sure that our manufacturing businesses are competing on value rather than on cost. We know that Australian goods are very highly regarded overseas; they're high quality, and we want to make sure that we are supporting our manufacturing businesses to grow and to develop. The coalition government is committed to working with manufacturing businesses to grow the economy, to improve productivity and to create more jobs.