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Building a globally competitive economy

13 May 2014

The Abbott Government is setting a new direction for industry policy focussed on new jobs, new investments and making Australian industry more competitive.

The Budget is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

Building on our nation’s successes and providing the right framework to encourage the next wave of entrepreneurship and investment in the industries of the future is at the heart of the Government’s industry policy.

The Government has committed more than $1.4 billion to generate jobs and skill Australia’s workforce, assist small and medium sized businesses to become more competitive and successfully expand into new markets.

Our new policy direction will kick start the productivity and competitiveness of businesses, and provide structural and strategic support enabling businesses to back themselves and carve their place in a changing global market.

Industry policy will no longer be an overlapping plethora of small grants and entitlements. This new approach is based on setting the right economic environment by reducing red tape, equipping businesses with key market information and the opportunity to expand or export, and reigniting the Australian spirit of entrepreneurship.

The Government is investing $484.2 million in a new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme and a Single Business Service to deliver it. The new programme will bring research and business together to develop and commercialise home-grown ideas and equip small to medium enterprises with the management and business skills to lead change and expansion.

A $476 million investment in the Industry Skills Fund will put a new focus on delivering the skills being directly sought by employers, to bridge the gap between training and employment. The vocational training space will be greatly simplified, replacing the confusing and bureaucratic network of current arrangements. The fund will complement the Trade Support Loans scheme which will offer loans of up to $20,000 over the life of an apprenticeship.

The Government is also committed to transitioning traditional manufacturing businesses to areas of growth, through the $50 million Manufacturing Transition Grants Programme. This Budget initiative will commence on 1 July 2014 and will assist manufacturers to shift to higher value and growth markets.

More than $161 million is being invested in key science and research projects that will secure the ongoing operation of vital assets, like the OPAL research reactor and new CSIRO research vessel, as well as promoting the benefits of science across the community.

This Budget also includes strategic investments of more than $125 million in resources and energy to support these sectors that are vital to the national economy. This commitment includes a $100 million incentive to encourage more mineral discoveries.

The above funding is in addition to the $155 million Growth Fund to help industry transition from car manufacturing to new jobs in sectors of the future.

Our new industry approach builds on our strengths by improving productivity, rewarding entrepreneurship and giving companies the structural support to back themselves.

The Government is making decisions that repair the Budget, strengthen the economy and prepare Australia for the long-term challenges before us.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane’s office (02) 6277 7070