Small textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) manufacturers can now apply for government funding of up to $50,000 a piece, to be used for business improvement projects.
The $2.5 million fund – which was announced just before Christmas – was launched by the Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, and Manufacturing Minister, Senator Kim Carr, to help TCF businesses improve their operations.
The TCF sector has experienced many ups and downs during the past five years, with various small businesses closing their doors during 2011 due to increased overseas competition, higher electricity prices and the looming carbon tax.
According to Combet, around 42,000 people are employed in TCF manufacturing – many in small and medium sized businesses.
“It is an important and highly competitive sector of the economy,” he said.
Senator Carr said these grants will help Australian firms improve their productivity and give them an edge to compete with overseas based manufacturers.
“The TCF sector faces challenges – in particular from cheap manufacturing overseas. The Gillard Labor Government understands the importance of tackling these challenges, strengthening manufacturing and improving productivity and competitiveness in the TCF sector,” he said.
“Innovation is the key to turning challenges into opportunity. This latest round of grants is part of a $406 million total package to transform the TCF sector.
“This investment will help maintain and grow a vibrant TCF sector as well as securing and creating high-wage, high-skill jobs for Australians.”