1 May 2013

THE HON GREG COMBET AM MP
Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation
THE HON DR CRAIG EMERSON MP
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE


Labor’s plan to secure Australian industries and jobs


Australia’s food, manufacturing and defence industries will work with university researchers to become more competitive in the global marketplace under the Gillard Government’s plan to secure jobs for Australians and build sustainable industries.

The food industry will be the first to benefit from the boost to productivity with eight research projects receiving more than $23 million to address challenges in storage, processing, manufacturing capabilities and product opportunities.

Climate Change, Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Combet and Science and Research Minister Craig Emerson today announced four research hubs and four training centres will be created under the first round of the Gillard Government’s Industrial Transformation Research Program.

The Ministers also announced the manufacturing, defence manufacturing and food industries would be the priorities for the second round of the Program, which will open in coming weeks. 

The Program is an integral part of the Government’s Industry Innovation Precincts initiative, which supports industry-research partnerships to boost the competitiveness of Australian industries.

A total of $14.5 million will go to the successful four hub proposals, while $9.3 million will be distributed across four training centres.

“Dedicated research hubs will bring universities and industry partners together to work on small and large research and development projects,” Mr Combet said.

“By working in industry settings in the hubs, researchers see first-hand the issues facing Australia’s industries. They can then apply their creativity and research to tackle these issues.”

Training centres will foster close partnerships between university-based researchers and industry.

They will also support the next generation of researchers, with each training centre taking on at least 10 Higher Degree by Research students, and three postdoctoral researchers.

“One of Australia’s strengths in the global economy is its reputation as a clean, green food producer,” Dr Emerson said.

“High end agribusiness, particularly directed at Asia’s rapidly-expanding middle classes, is one of the areas with most potential in Australia.

“This is about making Australian industry globally competitive and profitable in the Asian Century.”

Successful first round projects include: securing the future of Australia’s dairy industry; innovative wine production; cutting edge aquaculture; and increasing Asian export opportunities.

Contributions from partner organisations toward the research hubs will total an additional $10.4 million in cash and $11 million in-kind, with $1.3 million in cash and $4.2 million in-kind for the Training Centres.

The second round of the Program will continue to address research priorities in food storage, food processing, food manufacturing capabilities and product opportunities. It will also target product design and development, manufacturing techniques, defence manufacturing, and firm organisation and management.

These priorities in food, manufacturing and defence manufacturing match the first two Industry Innovation Precincts announced by the Gillard Government.

“As outlined in our $1 billion Plan for Australian Jobs in February, the Industrial Transformation Research Program will now exclusively fund priority research areas of the Precincts,” Mr Combet said.

For more information, visit www.arc.gov.au

Minister Combet’s Media Contact: Mark Davis; Gia Hayne 02 6277 7920 
Minister Emerson’s Media Contact: Mark Mulligan 02 6277 7420