Major investment boost highlights manufacturing sector potential

A major manufacturing investment fund is now open for businesses in both South Australia and Victoria. How will this help support growth?

As the Australian economy continues to head in the right direction after a period of slow growth, it is important that the focus continues to be placed on vital industries such as manufacturing. Historically, this sector has been one of the strongest, providing employment opportunities to hundreds of thousands and injecting valuable revenue into the economy.

In fact, according to figures from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the industry employs more than 900,000 and pumps nearly $100 billion into the Australian GDP every year.

To help this progress moving forward, Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a major investment fund for both South Australia's and Victoria's flourishing manufacturing sectors. The $30 million boost is designed to allow businesses to keep up with the competition both domestically and internationally and invest in technology to continue the production of high-quality solutions.

What is this investment fund?
In response to the slowing of the national car manufacturing industry in the coming years, the government created the Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme. The $90 million programme is built to support a range of manufacturing-related sectors such as transportation and steel and ensure businesses within the industry remain strong and profitable.

After the success of round one of the programme, Mr Pyne has announced details surrounding round two.

Businesses now have the opportunity to apply grants of between $500,000 and $2.5 million to support technology adoption and other investment opportunities. In fact, up to one third of total project costs can be covered by a high value manufacturing grant.
"The Government is committed to a strong and sustainable manufacturing industry in Australia. This competitive grants round will support more businesses to invest in manufacturing operations driven by technological innovation, advanced processes, and a highly skilled workforce," Mr Pyne said in a January 29 media statement.

"Helping these firms invest in extending their manufacturing capabilities will deliver strong economic benefits for South Australia and Victoria."

Manufacturing industry expands again

While the above investment fund is limited to South Australia and Victoria, the latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index highlights the growth potential across the whole country.

The Australian manufacturing sector finished January at 51.5 points, comfortably above the balance between contraction and expansion (50 points). This result takes on additional importance given the fact that the industry has been growing for more consecutive months since 2010.

In total, half of the manufacturing sub-sectors also finished in positive territory. This included wood and paper products (64.3 points), petroleum, coal, chemical and rubber products (59.1 points), food, beverages and tobacco (56.7 points) and textiles, clothing, furniture and other manufacturing (50.1 points).

There is certainly room for improvement across several sub-sectors, but with investment increasing, optimism is high moving into the next couple of months.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox explained this in more detail.

"The manufacturing sector opened 2016 by continuing the positive momentum built over the second half of 2015. The benefits of the lower dollar continue to accumulate with local manufacturers enjoying greater shares of the domestic market and increased export opportunities," he said.

Pairing manufacturing with innovation

For manufacturing businesses that are interested in the Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme or are working towards a more innovative future, Redstack are here to help.

As a leading provider of technology such as Autodesk Software and 3D printing, we can offer interactive solutions to take your enterprise to the next level. Of course, these can be tailored to your exact requirements to ensure a cost-effective and productive outcome.

Additionally, Redstack can also provide unique training opportunities, services and support to bring your team up to speed on any next-generation technology adopted.

For more information about our range of products and how they can make the difference to your manufacturing investment, contact our friendly team today.

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