New $7.5 million fund for NT manufacturers

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Image credit: AMGC.

The Northern Territory state government has partnered with the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) to open applications for the $7.5 million Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF).

The AMEF delivers on the recommendations from the Territory Economic Reconstruction Report and will leverage AMGC’s experience in successfully increasing Australia’s manufacturing capability. 

With a focus on expanding manufacturing in the NT, co-investments will target local projects that seek to: 

  • grow an advanced manufacturing ecosystem and capability in the NT across the Territory’s priority sectors 
  • increase investment in advanced manufacturing activity in NT, and secure a greater number of advanced manufacturing jobs located in the NT 
  • commercialise new products and processes, including transitioning a new product or process from pilot/prototype stage to full commercial operations 
  • support early-stage small scale and pilot research projects in advanced manufacturing, allowing them to more quickly move to larger-scale commercialisation. 

Funding will range from $25,000 up to $500,000 (or more based on scale and impact), and must be matched by industry. Projects should include collaboration with a research partner and a minimum of one industry partner. 

The launch of the AMEF coincides with the latest AMGC research finding that appreciation of local manufacturing in Territory rose the quickest of any Australian region. 

Comparing data collected in early 2019 to today, AMGC has contrasted the awareness and attitudes toward local manufacturing showing that support is higher compared to pre-pandemic times. 

AMGC’s Perceptions of Australian Manufacturing Report has evidenced that Territorians’ support for, and knowledge of, manufacturing is the highest of anywhere in mainland Australia, rising by 33 per cent, to 83 per cent over the pre-pandemic survey. 

Nationally, the research evidenced that manufacturing is highly regarded by the public, viewed as vital to our nation’s economy, and is critical to maintaining our high living standards. Yet, the full impact of the industry is misunderstood and mismeasured. 

The report states that having a holistic view of manufacturing and its impact is crucial. It affects everything from people’s understanding of our economy to their purchasing decisions and career choices – the latter being highly significant given current skills shortages. 

Data highlighted in the report includes: 

  • 72 per cent (+7 per cent from 2019) of Australians believe manufacturing is important, or very important to the economy 
  • Double the number of respondents believe manufacturing will get stronger in the coming years, compared to responses in 2019 
  • 79 per cent of Australians perceive trade and export of manufactured goods are important to the economy 
  • Tasmania (86 per cent), Northern Territory (83 per cent), South Australia (76 per cent) and Western Australia (76 per cent) rate manufacturing more highly than the Eastern States 
  • Manufacturing is perceived as the 7th most important industry to the Australian economy (+4 from 2019) relative to other industries 
  • 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to purchase local products where possible 
  • 63 per cent believe these products are of higher quality and 58 per cent noted that locally made products were worth paying a premium for 
  • Almost half of the respondents view Australian manufacturing as high-tech and globally competitive. 

“We are Australia’s comeback capital, but we also want to be Australia’s innovation capital,” Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner said. 

“Advanced manufacturing will be a major jobs driver of the future, and this new partnership will provide local manufacturers with the ability to turn their dreams into realities. 

“By building up the Territory capabilities in advanced manufacturing, we are expanding industries and export opportunities, and creating new and exciting job opportunities for Territorians and investors.” 

The NT has an opportunity to leverage its natural resources, research talent, and manufacturing base to grow its impact, locally and abroad. 

“The launch of the Advanced manufacturing Ecosystem Fund arrives at a time when public sentiment is high and the NT Government focus on the critical industry is strong, we look forward to getting to work and to helping build prosperity for Territorians,” AMGC’s Northern Territory director Charmaine Barrett said. 

AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said the NT is ahead of other jurisdictions in its public perception and policy direction for manufacturing.

“AMGC’s partnership with the Territory government to grow the NT’s manufacturing ecosystem is a sound investment that will deliver secure jobs and higher growth to the Territory, helping to transform the local economy from a lucky one into a smart one,” he said.