$48.3 million for SMEs through modernisation fund

The federal government will contribute $48.3 million towards modernising how Australian manufacturers do business, with critical investment in small-and-medium-sized businesses in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two hundred projects worth more than $215 million are being supported through the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF).

Industry, Science and Technology minister Karen Andrews said the job-creating investments couldn’t come at a better time as the manufacturing sector grapples with COVID-19.

“The federal government is committed to helping Australian manufacturers prepare for the future and to employ more Australians. More than 2,600 new jobs are expected to be created by these successful projects,” she said.

“We established the MMF before the coronavirus pandemic to help small and medium sized manufacturers invest in capital equipment and new technologies to transform and upgrade their manufacturing operations.

“Now as we face the coronavirus pandemic and look to come out the other side stronger, this investment will be more critical than ever.

“I am determined to further strengthen Australian manufacturing and the current pandemic gives us the opportunity as a nation to reassess and commit to the values of Australian-made goods.”

The merit-based grants are divided between large and small scale projects and are the first to be allocated under the fund.

Grants totalling $35 million will go to 59 companies for large scale projects worth over $177 million. A further $13.3 million in grants will go to 141 small scale projects worth over $38 million.

Companies to receive large scale project grants include Robern Menz to establish a new production line that will bring back the iconic Aussie chocolate the Polly Waffle.

The project, worth more than $5 million, is expected to create 38 jobs in South Australia.

Small scale projects include Violet Light Pty Ltd which is revolutionising the brewing process.

The MMF builds on other federal government investments in manufacturing growth and competitiveness, including the $100 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, and the $40 million Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.