Federal government launches defence industry grants program for SMEs

The federal government has launched its annual grants program for Australian small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in delivering the pipeline of projects enhancing the capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants program makes available a total of $17 million in grants per year to eligible Australian SMEs with fewer than 200 employees. A business can receive an unlimited number of grants over the life of the program, with a minimum value of $50,000 and the maximum value of $1 million and up to a total of $3 million over a three-year period.

Defence industry minister Steven Ciobo said that the grants will help SMEs meet up to 50 percent of eligible project costs including capital equipment, specialist software and security infrastructure, non-recurring engineering costs, design activities or enhancing workforce training and accreditation.

“The Liberal-National government is delivering the largest modernisation of the ADF since the Second World War, investing more than $200 billion in defence capability over the next decade,” Ciobo said.

“Involving Australia’s SMEs in this major renewal of Australia’s defence capability will grow our industry and economy, helping create new jobs.

“The more Australian industry can contribute to meeting the ADF’s capability needs, the greater prosperity and security we will all enjoy.”

The grants program is to support the government’s ten Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities for the ADF’s operational requirements, identified in the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

The 10 initial Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities are the following:

  •  Collins Class Submarine maintenance and technology upgrade
  •  Continuous Shipbuilding Program (including rolling submarine acquisition)
  •  Land Combat Vehicle and technology upgrade
  •  Enhanced Active and Passive Phased Array Radar Capability
  •  Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
  •  Advanced signal processing capability in Electronic Warfare, Cyber and Information Security, and Signature Management technologies and operations
  •  Surveillance and intelligence data collection, analysis, dissemination and complex systems integration
  •  Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance
  •  Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture
  •  Aerospace platform deep maintenance

“The plan concluded Australia’s defence industrial base is mostly composed of SMEs,” Ciobo said.

“This grants program aims to ensure Australian businesses have the capacity and resilience to support Defence’s most critical capabilities.”