Growth Centres bring an industry-led focus and strategic alignment across Australian Government initiatives. Growth Centres collaborate with partner organisations and agencies across government, research and industry to drive cultural change and increase partnerships.
Delivering for businesses
As the Australian Government’s flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme provides practical support for businesses. Frontline business insights from the Programme inform the Growth Centres’ long term sector strategies. Growth Centres also co-design and deliver skills workshops with the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, to ensure content meets firm needs. To date, 450 workshops have been delivered to over 10 000 participants.
Connecting researchers with industry needs
Each Growth Centre identifies Industry Knowledge Priorities to inform research communities of industry needs, commercialisation opportunities, and priorities for industry-led research programs. This enables governments and researchers to address gaps, align research and collaborate to meet the needs of industry.
Growth Centres provide guidance that helps potential applicants to the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program and the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) align their applications with Industry Knowledge Priorities.
Growth Centres leverage their connections to deliver industry-research collaboration initiatives on behalf of the Australian Government. For example:
- AMGC delivers the Advanced Manufacturing Early Stage Research Fund (AMESRF) for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The Fund provides $1 million to eligible projects each year until 2020–21.
- MTPConnect administers the BioMedTech Horizons (BMTH) program for the Department of Health. Delivered via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), Round One of the program ($10 million) supported 11 projects. These projects stimulate commercialisation for precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing.
- MTPConnect also works with BioCurate, UniQuest and the Medical Device Partnering Program to deliver the $22.3 million Biomedical Translation Bridge program.
Taking Australian businesses to the world
In partnership with Austrade, Growth Centres develop trade and investment promotion strategies for each of their sectors. They have supported business participation in Austrade’s Landing Pads in Tel Aviv, Singapore and San Francisco. The Growth Centres have also coordinated a “Team Australia” presence that has supported over 900 Australian organisations at 40 international trade shows and outbound trade missions, resulting in at least 150 firms either securing their first export or expanding their sales.
The Growth Centres’ cluster initiatives informed the design of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Export Hubs Initiative. Export hubs help SMEs grow and export by developing local collaborative business networks within Growth Centre sectors. The Growth Centres support the initiative to ensure local export strategies align with their national export strategies. For example, FIAL is supporting Food & Fibre Gippsland to promote exports and secure market opportunities for local businesses in the food sector.
Improving workforce skills
Growth Centres inform the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system by providing advice on the skills needed by their sectors. They achieve this through working with the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and the Industry Reference Committees (IRCs). Representatives from Growth Centres sit on the following seven IRCs:
- Manufacturing and Engineering IRC (AMGC)
- Sustainability IRC (AMGC)
- Information and Communications Technology IRC (AustCyber)
- Coal Mining IRC (METS Ignited and NERA)
- Drilling IRC (METS Ignited and NERA)
- Metalliferous Mining IRC (METS Ignited and NERA)
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturing IRC (MTPConnect).
Stronger sectors via better regulation
Growth Centres work to optimise industry standards and harmonise regulation in their sectors, with 17 regulation reform projects underway.
A focus of these activities has been increasing alignment between Australian and international standards. The uptake of international standards helps eliminate technical barriers to trade and allows Australian businesses access to global supply chains. Activities include:
- NERA has worked with Standards Australia to establish the Australian Technical Committee to influence adoption of international standards in the oil and gas, energy and petrochemicals industries.
- AustCyber has worked with the MITRE Corporation to better align Australian regulatory frameworks with international best practice standards and guidelines. The MITRE Corporation is a federally funded US Research and Development Center.
- Growth Centres are supporting the development of a Trade Barriers Register with the Export Council of Australia. The register provides businesses with a platform to report barriers to doing business overseas. This will support the Government to understand challenges faced by international businesses and how to prioritise responses. The Growth Centres launched a beta version of the register in late 2018.
- Growth Centres have a focus on ensuring regulations keep up with technological advancements. For example, MTPConnect is working with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), CSIRO, ANDHealth and other key stakeholders on the Steering Committee for Adaptive Regulation of Digital Health. This will enable optimal roll out of major initiatives which regulate medical devices.
Delivering on national priorities
Growth Centres leverage their industry connections to help achieve national priorities. For example, FIAL is implementing the Australian Government’s National Food Waste Strategy, which aims to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030.
Investing in sector-wide challenges
Growth Centres have committed $58 million to 150 collaborative projects to address sector wide opportunities or challenges through the Growth Centres Project Fund. The Growth Centre funding must be matched by industry. This approach has leveraged over $78 million from industry and research partners. The total direct value of these projects exceeds $135 million.
|Growth Centre||Projects||Growth Centres Contribution||Industry Contribution Amounts||Total Project Value Amount|
|Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre||30||$6 674 973||$7 084 241||$13 759 214|
|Australian Cyber Security Growth Network||10||$6 070 285||$6 131 776||$12 202 061|
|Food Innovation Australia Limited||24||$9 982 759||$10 639 674||$20 093 518|
|Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Growth Centre||36||$15 600 000||$21 895 667||$37 495 667|
|Mining Equipment, Technology and Services Growth Centre||16||$7 326 570||$13 254 731||$20 581 301|
|National Energy Resources Australia||34||$12 271 000||$18 660 750||$31 196 500|
|Grand Total||150||$57 925 587||$77 666 839||$135 328 261|
The Igniting METS Accelerator Program, delivered by METS Ignited and the QLD Government, has helped eight SMEs to scale-up by implementing pathways to commercialisation. Participating SMEs have secured over $12 million in capital investment and new sales contracts.
Working with state and territory governments
The Growth Centres are working with state and territory governments to support activities and projects across the country:
- AMGC is working with the South Australian Government and Dassault Systems on the Virtual Shipyard Program. The project trains fourteen South Australian companies on Industry 4.0 principles and supports them to collaborate, plan, design and build in 3D virtual environments.
- FIAL cooperates with Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Government agencies to deliver streams of its Enterprise Solutions Centre Program.
- FIAL also administers the Victorian Salt Reduction Innovation Grants Initiative in collaboration with VicHealth.
- AustCyber has partnered with six states and territories to establish Cyber Security Innovation Nodes. These nodes will drive collaboration and innovation in the sector. Each node commits to national priorities defined in the AustCyber business strategy and Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan.
- The Western Australian Government has supported MTPConnect with $1.2 million in funding over 4 years to establish a WA Hub. Additional funding has been provided by the University of Western Australia. The Hub will create a life science precinct to accelerate medical and biotechnologies, and establish Western Australia as a world leader in this area.
- METS Ignited is partnering with the Queensland Government to pilot several initiatives. These include the Bowen Basin Cluster Program, Queensland Clustering Initiative, regional and national accelerator programs, and the Digital Business Workshops. These initiatives draw on up to $6 million in funding from the Queensland Government to help build local specialisations in areas of competitive strength and enhance business growth.
- The Western Australian Government provided $875 000 in funding over four years to support NERA’s Western Australian activities, especially supporting SME engagement, bridging industry and academia encouraging collaboration and promoting greater access to international markets.
- METS Ignited and NERA delivered the RISE Accelerator (RISE) with the Western Australian and Queensland State Governments. RISE equips technology start-ups with the skills to commercialise their technology solutions. 17 businesses from regional and metropolitan Queensland and Western Australia have graduated from the program.