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Growth Centres to boost competitiveness

14 October 2014

Joint release with the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister

The Australian Government will invest $188.5 million in Industry Growth Centres to pursue global excellence in areas of competitive strength.

These centres will provide the infrastructure needed to drive growth and jobs creation in five key sectors of the Australian economy:

  • food and agribusiness;
  • mining equipment, technology and services;
  • oil, gas and energy resources;
  • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; and
  • advanced manufacturing sectors.

A key part of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the centres will help industry exploit new global markets and supply chains, invent and commercialise new products and services and generate new jobs.

These industry-led Centres will bring together expertise from business and industry, the scientific and research communities and the university sector.

Currently fewer than five per cent of Australian businesses turn to the higher education sector – including scientists and researchers – directly for expertise and ideas.

Collaboration between business and research has proven to be the basis for enhanced international competitiveness in other countries. Growth Centres will foster these links and relationships which are critical to future economic success.

The Minister for Industry will seek expressions of interest from business-led consortia to establish five nonprofit Industry Growth Centres. Project funding will focus on market, value chain or technology issues to deliver commercial outcomes with sector-wide impact.

Each of the five Centres will receive funding of up to $3.5 million per year. The Centres will be required to establish a plan to become self-sustaining after four years and the Government will look to establish further centres based on the success of the programme.

Funding of $60 million will be available to convert ideas with great potential into profitable commercial realities. This element, comprising grants of up to $1 million, which must be matched by the company, will be delivered through the new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme.

In addition $63 million will be available to the Centres to develop and deliver large scale collaborative projects to build the capability and competitiveness of their sectors.

There will be a staged roll out of the Centres from early 2015.

The Industry Growth Centres Initiative complements the Governments $155 million Growth Fund and $50 million national Manufacturing Transition Programme. It also builds on the $484.2 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme.

Over the coming weeks, a series of Competitiveness Agenda stakeholder roundtables will be held across the nation. This will be the first step in consulting with industry and research on the implementation of the Industry Growth Centres initiative.

More information on the Industry Growth Centres Initiative can be found at www.industry.gov.au/growthcentres.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070