Queensland launches $13.5 million grants program for local manufacturers

Photo: Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning

Queensland manufacturers can access grants between $5000 and $1 million as part of the $13.5 million Manufacturing Hubs Grant Program.

The grants will be administered through the Cairns Manufacturing Hub, the Rockhampton Manufacturing Hub, and the Townsville Manufacturing Hub, which have each been allocated $4.5 million of the overall $13.5 million.

The grants are intended to help build advanced manufacturing capability in Queensland through technology adoption, skills and training and business development.

“They can be used to purchase an innovative piece of equipment, a smarter operating system, or to assist workers in gaining industry accreditations,” Member for Mundingburra in Townsville, Coralee O’Rourke, said.

Members for Parliament from all three regions said manufacturing was a strong point of their regions.

“Townsville manufacturing was worth $862 million to the Queensland economy in 2017-18 and employed 7600 people locally, as of December last year,” Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said.

“These are big numbers, but we want to build on them further, which is why our government is putting the funding framework in place to secure Townsville’s manufacturing future.”

Member for Keppel and Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga said manufacturing was vital for Central Queensland.

“There is a very strong manufacturing sector here in Central Queensland that, in 2017-18, contributed more than $1 billion to our state’s economy, and as of December last year employed 5100 people locally,” Lauga said.

“We want to ensure manufacturing in Central Queensland continues to thrive. That’s what this program is all about.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that “the Cairns manufacturing sector contributed almost $790 million to the Queensland economy in 2017-18, and as of December last year employed 6400 people. It’s a vital sector for the Far North.”

Successful applicants can also use grant funding to access services offered through Australia’s first advanced robotics hub for manufacturing, which is on track to open in the first half of 2020.

“The wide range of grants available means the program can benefit any manufacturing business, whether they’re big or small,” Member for Gladstone, in Central Queensland, Glenn Butcher said.

Minister for Manufacturing, Cameron Dick, said the grants were part of a $30 million election commitment.

“We promised to connect our regional manufacturers with world-leading technologies and processes, and to create more jobs in our regions, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Dick said.

The Manufacturing Hubs Grant Program is an initiative through the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, which intends for “Queensland to become an international market leaders in the delivery of advanced manufacturing technologies, systems, products and services that are innovative, sustainable, and embedded in local and global supply chains” by 2026.

Funding is provided on a co-contribution basis, with the state covering 75 per cent of capital expenditure for grants between $5000 and $500,0000, and a further 50 per cent for grants up to $1 million.