The road map development process
On 1 October 2020, the Australian Government announced $1.5 billion to be invested over the next 4 years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS) to help Australian manufacturers become more competitive, resilient and build scale in the global market.
The centrepiece of the MMS is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative which will allow government to invest in projects within 6 National Manufacturing Priority areas. The 6 National Manufacturing Priority areas are:
- Resources Technology & Critical Minerals Processing
- Food & Beverage
- Medical Products
- Recycling & Clean Energy
Road maps have been developed with industry to set out plans for both industry and Government to strengthen Australia’s manufacturing capability. The road maps have been led by 6 industry taskforces to identify and set a future vision for the priority areas with clear goals, opportunities and actions over the next 2, 5 and 10 years.
Members of the industry taskforces were selected based on their expertise across the priority areas, and were supported by technical experts from the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Industry Innovation and Science Australia.
Taskforce deliberations focused on current and future issues, challenges and opportunities to identify actions businesses and government can undertake to support scale, competitiveness and resilience in recycling and clean energy manufacturing in the next 10 years.
Government has also been working with industry beyond the taskforce to understand the needs of the recycling and clean energy manufacturing sector. A public consultation process was held between 23 October 2020 and 9 November 2020 which received 340 responses, including 89 focused on recycling and clean energy manufacturing.
Input on the key strengths, opportunities and solutions to grow manufacturing have been used to inform the road map. The road map was also informed by bilateral meetings with key stakeholders as well as research conducted by the department.
Building on existing findings
This road map builds on the government’s broader economic reform agenda. This includes drawing upon relevant strategies including but not limited to:
- Technology Investment Roadmap: First Low Emissions Technology Statement presents a vision of a prosperous Australia, recognised as a global low emissions technology leader. It outlines priority technologies, including clean hydrogen, energy storage and low carbon materials. The statement also covers economic stretch goals, challenges, opportunities, and a Technology Investment Framework.
- National Waste Policy Action Plan creates targets and actions to implement the 2018 National Waste Policy. These targets and actions intend to guide investment and national efforts to 2030 and beyond. The plan supports the implementation of better waste management plans by state and territory governments, local government, business and industry.
- National Hydrogen Strategy sets a vision for a clean, innovative, safe and competitive hydrogen industry that benefits all Australians and is a major global player by 2030. The strategy outlines an adaptive approach that equips Australia to scale-up quickly as the hydrogen market grows. It includes a set of nationally coordinated actions involving governments, industry and the community.
- National Food Waste Strategy provides a framework to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030, with a priority to develop the market for value-added products from food waste.
- CSIRO’s Circular economy roadmap for plastics, glass, paper and tyres presents an approach for Australia to transition to a resource-efficient path. The report suggests that Australia has what it needs to adopt a circular economy strategy that will both address environmental issues and foster economic development and employment.
- CSIRO’s Low Emissions Technology Roadmap establishes a framework for understanding the range of low emissions technologies available, current barriers and enablers to deployment. The technologies are grouped according to a series of options or ‘pathways’, each have different risk profiles and associated opportunities.
Other barriers to scale
This road map seeks to support the recycling and clean energy national manufacturing priority area to achieve its full potential by overcoming barriers to scale.
The recycling and clean energy taskforce sees the Government’s work to get the economic conditions right for all manufacturers as an important opportunity to improve competitiveness for the sector, particularly in:
- Attracting investment: Access to capital can be a challenge in this sector, particularly where companies are commercialising products in emerging sectors. De-risking projects and improving access to debt and equity finance are therefore important. Policies which go to the investment environment, send signals to investors, or more actively provide risk tolerant finance to encourage greater investment are of particular relevance to manufacturers in this area.
- Energy: Australia’s capacity to seize manufacturing opportunities in this priority area will require continued work to deliver lower energy costs, especially by continuing to deploy and integrate world-leading levels of clean energy.
- Skills: the recycling and clean energy sector is knowledge driven. While we have a skilled and capable workforce, the sector relies on STEM and vocational skills to support emerging clean energy technologies. It also relies on the advanced manufacturing skills needed in product and process design to transition from virgin to recycled materials.
- Circular economy: To support the outcomes of this road map, government and industry will need to continue to identify approaches to build circular economy principles such as durability, reuse, reducing obsolescence and planning for end of life reuse of resources into policy and product design.