Applications are now open for round one of the Victorian Government’s Investing in Manufacturing Technology program, providing manufacturers with grants of up to $250,000.
Victorian manufacturers have until July 20 to submit applications for the first round of the $24.8 million program, with total funding of up to $3 million available in this round.
Grants of up to $250,000 will be allocated on a competitive basis, and will require a minimum contribution from the business of $3 for every $1 of government support.
The program, which is aimed at increasing manufacturing productivity and competitiveness, was announced by Victorian Manufacturing Minister Richard Dalla-Riva.
The funding comes from the $58 million promised to the manufacturing sector in the May state budget.
Dalla-Riva said in a statement the grants are designed to help manufacturers acquire and integrate new technologies.
“These grants will support Victorian manufacturers to transform their operations by adopting strategies that improve productivity and competitiveness, strengthen capability, and encourage wider and ongoing innovation,” Dalla-Riva said.
The government has also committed $7.5 million to the Manufacturing Productivity Networks initiative.
This is designed to help manufacturers build and strengthen co-operative arrangements between each other, research organisations, service providers and customers.
“This funding includes support for networks to plan and scope potential activities, and to undertake specific projects,” Dalla-Riva said.
“[Projects could include] information exchanges, collaboration with research institutions or pursuing new business and market opportunities.”
The government is also supporting a new Specialist Manufacturing Service, with $13.7 million set aside for a program of practical services that will help business and open up new markets.
“Small manufacturers will also benefit from a $9 million commitment for a Building Innovative Small Manufacturers program,” Dalla-Riva said.
“This program will provide information and support services, including workshops and seminar programs, a customised online entry point and mentoring for enterprises.”
According to Dalla-Riva, manufacturing is worth around $28 billion to the Victorian economy and $108 billion to the national economy.
However, the industry is suffering due to the high Australian dollar, increasing global competition and the carbon tax, which is due to start on July 1.
“We cannot ignore those realities, but we can’t afford to simply accept them either,” Dalla-Riva said.
Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper told The Australian Financial Review the grants will certainly help to improve manufacturing technology.
“I would hope these grants will be attractive to manufacturers and that the take-up is so great the government sees that there is a need to give greater funding to the sector,” he said.