Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Questions without Notice
Modern Manufacturing Strategy
My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Senator Seselja. The Liberal-National government has committed $1.5 billion to the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to assist Australian manufacturers across six national priority areas to scale up, improve competitiveness and build more resilient supply chains. Food and beverage is included as a national manufacturing priority, supporting our world-leading agricultural industries, and that's fantastic news. Can the minister advise what the strategy provides for our high-quality sustainable fibre industries, including forestry, wool and cotton?
I thank Senator McKenzie for the question. The first pillar of our strategy is getting the economic conditions right for businesses in all manufacturing sectors to succeed. That's what we want to see happening. That includes every area of our agricultural sector, because we understand how vital our farmers, fishers and foresters are to our regions and to our nation.
When our manufacturing sector grows and we value-add here at home, it provides more opportunity for our agricultural sector. Getting the economic conditions right is the first pillar of our Modern Manufacturing Strategy, and that's what's happening across the board. For example, the extension of the instant asset write-off is seeing manufacturers invest in new equipment, upgrade production lines and bring work home to Australia. The budget also includes a record investment in skills, plans to make energy more affordable and reliable, support to open up trade markets and a fairer, simpler industrial relations framework. These are the building blocks that will assist every sector of manufacturing. I know the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology met with Wool Producers Australia just last week to discuss the contribution woolgrowers make to our economy and how our broader manufacturing plan will support them—for example, through improved animal health and stockfeed production.
The government's strategy is a commitment to play to our strengths. If we're going to turbocharge job creation and effect meaningful change in manufacturing, then we need to focus on investment in areas where we know we can get the best return. That's why we're focusing on our six national manufacturing priorities: resources technology and critical mineral processing; food and beverage; medical products; recycling and clean energy; defence; and space. Our strategy reflects the fact that we're serious about helping our manufacturers achieve the competitiveness, scale and resilience that will make our nation stronger, not just for the recovery from COVID but for the generations to come. (Time expired)
Yes, I can. I thank Senator McKenzie for the question. The second round of our Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses in our priority areas, including food and beverage. These projects will have a particular focus on new technologies. This will make the businesses more competitive and productive, which, in turn, will create new jobs. There has been huge interest from businesses in our priority sectors, with over 500 applications received from businesses right across Australia. The senator and the Senate will be pleased to note that there have been a very healthy number from regional areas. These are now being assessed. The successful businesses will receive support of between $100,000 and $1 million. This is matched funding, where we provide $1 for every $3 that the business provides. This government is backing Aussie manufacturers that are prepared to back themselves, which is all part of our plan to create jobs and grow the economy right across the nation.
Can the minister also outline how the strategy will assist all manufacturing industries under each national priority to strengthen our sovereignty and supply chain resilience, particularly for food and fibre harvesting and processing?
COVID has demonstrated that we must increase the nation's resilience to supply chain disruption to protect our economy and security into the future. The Liberal-National government is working with industry to identify the goods and services most critical to Australians. That's why, as part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, we are investing over $107 million in the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative: to help Australia be better prepared for any future shocks. We are looking right across the supply chains, from medical products our doctors and nurses need to the chemicals required for packaging and for our farmers to grow their crops, or the equipment to harvest and process our food. From there we will look at a range of solutions, whether that is establishing or scaling up domestic manufacturing, ensuring the capacity to pivot to meet surge demand or working with other like-minded countries to make sure that Australia is more safe and more secure.