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The Australian Government is manufacturing a new future for our nation. Manufacturing is critical to a modern Australian economy—a key part of almost every supply chain that adds significant value to all sectors. The Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS) is led by industry, for industry, to help our manufacturers scale-up, become more competitive and build more resilient supply chains. The Australian Government will be a strategic investor in this, notably through the 6 national manufacturing priority sectors, in order to drive productivity and create jobs for Australians, both now and for generations to come.

On 1 October 2020, the Australian Government announced a $1.5 billion investment in the MMS to help Australian manufacturers be more competitive, resilient and build scale in the global market. The 6 key areas are:

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 industry taskforces to identify and set a future vision for priority areas with clear goals, opportunities and actions over the next 2, 5 and 10 years. This road map is designed to be dynamic—it will evolve with the industry and with other external forces such as economic and global trends as they affect the industry. As the MMS is implemented, the Government will continue to work with industry to ensure the road map evolves over its life, to take account of emerging opportunities and actions to support the sector to scale-up, become increasingly competitive and integrate commercial solutions with global supply chains and markets. For more details on the road map process, view Road map in context.

Through the MMS, the Government wants to support projects from industry that will transform manufacturing in Australia. This road map will help inform investment decisions that both Government and industry make over the next 10 years, in particular, by supporting projects that will:

  • harness and build on the sector’s strengths and advantages
  • provide innovative solutions to overcome constraints that limit value creation and may prevent the sector achieving its full potential
  • transform the sector by growing a high-value, reputable and dynamic manufacturing industry focused on resources technology and critical minerals processing. 

Getting the economic conditions right

The MMS outlines the whole-of-government agenda to help grow Australian manufacturing and ensure manufacturers can harness global opportunities and achieve scale. Getting the economic conditions right to reduce costs is the first pillar of the Strategy, noting affordable and reliable energy, lower taxes, industrial relations, training and skills, and cutting red tape are key determinants of success of local manufacturing businesses.

The Australian Government is working hard on getting the economic conditions right for manufacturers, paving the way for growth and improved competitiveness in all sectors.

Manufacturers need a pipeline of skilled workers as they transform and scale. The Government is investing $7 billion this financial year to keep apprentices in jobs, to help jobseekers re-skill and to promote vocational training. We are working to ensure that we are creating the jobs of the future and that we have a pipeline of skilled workers to support new and emerging industries, including in manufacturing. The Government’s reforms to higher education will boost the number of graduates in areas of employment growth, including STEM.

A gas-fired recovery will ensure Australian gas is working for local businesses and manufacturers, with a 13-point plan and $49.8 million investment to unlock supply. This complements the Government’s initiatives to reduce electricity prices, boost liquid fuel security and invest in low emissions energy technology through the Technology Investment Roadmap. 

The Government is harnessing opportunities from emerging technologies and building business digital capability, including growing Australian business cyber security resilience. Work to implement a Simplified Trade System will support Australia’s exporters and importers to invest and grow local jobs by making it easier for businesses to integrate into global supply chains.

The Government is focused on making and sustaining jobs through the JobMaker scheme. This will unlock investment, expand the productive capacity of the nation through expanding the instant asset write-off and temporarily allowing businesses with a turnover of $5 billion to offset tax losses against previous profits.

Why the resources technology and critical minerals processing sectors?

Australia’s resource sector is world-class. The sector is a leading exporter of energy and resources commodities, serviced by a highly regarded resources technology sector. In 2019 the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector generated $97 billion in revenue, supporting approximately 200,000 jobs.[1]

Resources technology is a manufacturing area with untapped potential that could be leveraged further, based on the capability and innovation of Australian businesses in supporting the competitiveness of our resources sector. There are also opportunities to further expand the current market footprint by adapting more of these technologies across other Australian sectors, such as defence and space, and capturing more of global markets.

Australia has significant reserves of the critical minerals and metals which drive the modern global economy. These are used to manufacture advanced technologies such as electric vehicles, mobile phones and renewable energy systems. However, because the majority of primary ores are shipped overseas for processing, Australia derives a small share of the potential overall benefit. Australia can capture greater benefit from these value chains by undertaking further value adding and manufacturing here.

Australia has a reputation as a reliable destination for foreign direct investment with low sovereign risk. We have the opportunity to leverage this reputation to become a premium destination for resources technology manufacturing and critical minerals processing. Work is underway to establish arrangements with Australia’s key trading partners to attract investment. This includes the recent memorandum of understanding with India to explore opportunities to increase trade and investment in critical minerals. The United States, Japan, South Korea and the UK are also becoming increasingly active in supporting the financing of critical mineral projects.

For the purpose of this road map, resources technology covers businesses and enterprises that provide technology products and associated services. These services can be provided across the minerals and energy resources value chain and to a range of other Australian industries.[2]

Critical minerals processing covers businesses and enterprises associated with processing critical minerals for use in value added manufacturing and manufacturing products using those refined materials. Using the battery value chain as an example, this can be from processing lithium ore into lithium hydroxide or metal, through to battery assembly.

Funding available

The Modern Manufacturing Initiative is now open for resources technology and critical minerals processing projects that meet eligibility under its Translation and Integration streams.

Footnotes

1 Austmine (2020), METS Sector Survey, unpublished data

2 The minerals and energy resources value chains encompass the entire mining life cycle including feasibility, exploration, construction, operation, processing value-adding, decommission and remediation.

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