Press conference at Dovetail Electric Aviation, Bankstown NSW

Press conference
Electrifying aviation; National Battery Strategy, Round 14 of Cooperative Research Centre Projects. 

ED HUSIC, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE: Thank you so much. If I can just begin by acknowledging the Darug and Eora people, the Traditional Custodian of the land and pay respects to elders past and present, to David Doral and Rachael Barritt from Dovetail. Thank you very much for hosting us here today, and I also just want to recognise John Sharp from Rex Aviation as well, and we'll come back to Rex's involvement. 

There couldn't be a better backdrop to announce the Round 13 of the Cooperative Research Centre projects that we have announced today. There's about $44 million going to 19 projects that will involve around 57 Australian companies, all finding ways to use Australian know-how in very powerful and meaningful ways. In this case with Dovetail, they have secured support under this round to help the process of electrifying aviation to use batteries to power the planes that we'll be able to do in the short term, short-haul flights, possibly looking at longer. And as David said, opening up the chance too for connecting - especially in regional Australia, towns, cities - areas that may not have been able to necessarily get a quick and easy way to travel around and to be able to do that is huge. 

So part of that process of being able to find a much more environmentally friendly way, using smarts to be able to change the way in which aviation operates, and reducing emissions within the transport sector, which is a huge thing in itself is teeing up with firms like Rex. I have to commend Rex for having the foresight to work with Dovetail, and thinking long term about their business, and how they can make a great impact along the lines of what their consumers expect which is reduced emissions, but also making economic sense as well in lowering their costs longer term and reducing reliance on fuel. 

So Dovetail, terrific place to be able to make this announcement because the big challenge for most countries, is electrification. We need to electrify as much as we can, reducing emissions and in some cases reducing the high costs that have been experienced through the energy crisis by being able to find alternate ways to power and meet the needs of business and households. 

So it's great that the CRCP program could be able to, in Round 13, support firms like Dovetail and many of the others who are doing terrific work. 

We're opening Round 14 of this program where we are going to encourage in particular firms that have got a view on how to engage more in the circular economy. That is from the very moment that they're thinking about an idea, a concept, how can they ensure that every item used in the production of the good can be reused. And the other thing that we'll do in this round of funding is encourage people to line up for the National Reconstruction Fund priorities that we're putting together. 

We are planning to introduce this year a $15 billion fund that makes sure that good Australian ideas have the backing of local capital to make their ideas a reality. This electric motor behind us actually had its beginnings here in Australia. The firm that was involved in it relocated to the US in search for money and support, and we do not want that to be a continued story of Australian innovation, where smart Australians couldn't get smart backers to put the money in locally to back their ideas. We need to see more of that, and CRC- P, Round 14, will look to back those that are lining up with the National Reconstruction Fund priorities. 

Again, we are very committed as a Government to be able to do things differently and smarter. To make sure that we've got support for Australian know-how. It is terrific to see what has been able to come out of this latest round of funding. But there's more to do, and we want to ensure that we get ourselves organised, and that Australia takes full advantage of the economic benefits, the commercial edge that can be given to our own firms here in this country and make this nation, globally, a powerhouse. Somewhere where other brains, other know-how comes here, because we're doing it better than anywhere else, so we do need to be able to ensure that that happens. 

If I may also flag - I was mentioning this to David and Rachael earlier, we are looking very soon to open up the consultations on our National Battery Strategy. We want Australia to take full advantage of this huge store of critical minerals and rare earths that we've got. We've got everything that is used in modern day batteries. If we mine it here, we should make it here, quite frankly. And that's what we want to do; find how Australia can take advantage of every part of the battery value chain and make sure that we're making Aussie-made batteries on Australian soil to meet the local need of Dovetail and others. We can do it. Again, electrification is the key; reduce emissions and sidestep high energy costs in the process. I might leave it at that.