Thursday, 18 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister please outline to the House how the Morrison government is supporting Australia's manufacturing industry and creating jobs as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 recession?
I thank the member for Groom for his question. He knows that this government is getting on with the job of delivering for our manufacturing sector, to help them to rebuild and to create the jobs in one of the toughest years that they have experienced on record.
Our Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is just one of the immediate ways that we are backing our manufacturers and their workers. I joined the member for Groom late last year to open round 2 of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund at Pixie Ice Cream in the electorate of Groom. They are a fantastic manufacturer, and many Aussies may not know that they are responsible for the iconic Home Ice Cream brand. Pixie is a great example of what many of our manufacturers are doing right across the country, which is looking at technology and how they can upgrade their technology so that they can introduce efficiencies to their manufacturing processes. That is exactly what the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is all about. Round 2 closed on 21 January, and there's been a tremendous response to that. There have been over 500 applications received. This builds on the success of round 1 of that fund, where we supported over 200 projects, and it was about $215 million in support that we gave to those manufacturers. That supported them at a particularly difficult time during the height of COVID last year.
The Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is part of our $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which we announced in October last year, and work is well underway on delivering the key parts of that strategy—firstly, with the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund round 2, which is currently being assessed. We also committed to making sure that road maps were developed by April of this year, that guidelines were developed and that we were opening the funding rounds. All of that work is well on track so that we can deliver the longer-term support that our manufacturers need.
Let's be clear: this strategy is not about a short-term sugar fix. This is about setting up Australian manufacturing for the future. We have taken a long-term view, and we have looked clearly at what manufacturers need in this country to be able to succeed. We are helping them to build resilience, to build competitiveness and to build scale, and we are doing that in our six national manufacturing priority areas. We are supporting manufacturers. We always have. We always will.