The details of the carbon price package are on the table today, and I am proud to put them to the friends of manufacturing. Senator Kim Carr writes for Manmonthly.com.au
This is not a debate about the price of a Tim-Tam. It is about who we are today, and what we want to be in ten, twenty, fifty years’ time. This is about the renaissance of Australian manufacturing. We are working in partnership with manufacturers to retool for the competitive challenges of the twenty-first century.
Electricity costs are rising. Petrol costs are rising. Global demand is shifting to cleaner, cheaper technologies. Our rivals are rushing to fill that need. It’s not just Germany. It’s not just Denmark and the United Kingdom. It’s China, India, Brazil, and every other nation that knows the cheap energy age has ended.
There’s no reason for Australia to be left behind. Labor has been working for years through my portfolio to help manufacturers profit from clean technology. We have a world-class research system. We are rolling out a future-proof national ICT backbone, the NBN. We will shortly have a tax credit that encourages genuine R&D, and offers more support to smaller firms. We have established the Enterprise Connect network to offer direct support to smaller manufacturers across the nation. We have a strengthening venture capital sector, and a sophisticated model for commercialisation support. We have strong mechanisms to link local suppliers to major projects, at home and abroad.
We are building the engine to power ahead in the clean technology age – and now we have some $20 billion on the table to help industry retool.
The Innovation portfolio I am proud to serve has now taken responsibility for a far-reaching suite of measures, open to manufacturers of all sizes. We are asking firms to co-invest in a stronger future, with total grant funding of $1.2 billion to back them. There are further funds to extend the reach of our supply chain and industry advocate programs.
But that is just the beginning for manufacturers.
Look at the groundbreaking $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, offering support for clean technologies and manufactured inputs. Look at the $9.2 billion Jobs and Competitiveness Program, reaching many manufacturers; and bolstered by further support for the coal and steel sectors. Look at the $1 billion tax break for green buildings. Look at the $330 million on the table for community energy efficiency projects. Look at the $99 million for carbon farming machinery. Look at the $32 million Clean Energy Skills program, connecting talented students to research institutions and industry partners.
We are about to unleash a massive re-building campaign, in factories, farms, mines and homes across the country. It will be fed by manufacturers, and it will feed their growth in turn.
This is the future for Australian manufacturing. This is how we will build jobs and industries that endure long after the mining boom has ended. This is Labor’s commitment to you.