The Government has announced more than $360 million over the next three years to continue to support a number of initiatives in the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolios, in addition to further funding under the Health and Defence portfolios.
The Government has provided an additional $328.3 million over five years from 2021-22 to further support the Modern Manufacturing Strategy and National Manufacturing Priorities (NMPs) and address critical supply chain vulnerabilities. The funding includes $250 million over two years from 2022-23 to extend the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to support businesses in NMP sectors to deliver high-impact projects.
In addition, there has been $53.9 million allocated over four years from 2021-22 to extend the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) to support technology adoption in NMPs. A further $6.9 million has been allotted over two years from 2021-22 to develop Manufacturing Investment Plans to guide government and industry investment in NMPs.
The Government has also committed $60.4 million over four years from 2022-23 in additional funding under the Recycling Modernisation Fund. Such funding will boost Australia’s plastic recycling capability through investment in state-of-the-art technologies and advanced recycling solutions.
The Government had previously announced $1.3 billion from 2021-22 (and $38.8 million per year ongoing) for the Australian space sector and space manufacturing industry. This includes $1.2 billion to establish Australia’s first National Space Mission for the procurement and operation of Australian satellites, delivering sovereign capability in Earth observation. Funding also includes:
- $65.7 million over five years (and $38.5 million per year ongoing) to support the launch of space assets
- $12.1 million over five years to remove cost recovery requirements under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2019 and undertake a regulatory reform program to streamline interactions with industry
- $9.5 million over two years to develop a Space Strategic Update to provide direction on future funding opportunities
- $3.5 million in 2022-23 to extend the International Space Investment Initiative and continue building relationships with foreign partners.
As part of its overall defence budget, the Government has announced $151.6 million over five years from 2021-22 to continue existing defence industry support programs for SMEs, including:
- $84.7 million for the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants Program
- $20.3 million for the Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry Grant Program.
Vaccine development and health
The Government has announced:
- Establishment of sovereign mRNA vaccine manufacturing capability in collaboration with Moderna and the Victorian Government to provide Australians with priority access to mRNA vaccines
- Commitment of a further $1.3 billion towards the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Ten Year Investment Plan. The updated $6.3 billion MRFF Plan includes a further $604.8 million towards translating medical discoveries into medical practice, $114.9 million to assist researchers tackle complex challenges through investment, leadership and collaboration, $117.4 million to assist patients through the funding of innovative treatment options and clinical trials and $495.4 million to assist medical researchers make breakthrough discoveries and progress their careers in Australia
- Extension of the Biomedical Translation Fund’s (BFT) initial investment period by three years to assist in the commercialisation of biomedical discoveries.
Resources and energy
The Government will provide $250.5 million over five years from 2022-23 to help early-stage Australian critical minerals projects reach market readiness. This includes $200 million over five years in grants under the Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative to advance critical minerals projects through the planning to demonstrate phases, and $50.3 million to establish a virtual Critical Minerals R&D centre.
Following trends established in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Budgets, the Government is continuing its commitment to invest heavily in new and emerging technologies focused on emissions reductions. This includes a further $446.1 million over five years from 2021‑22 to increase energy security, maintain energy affordability and reduce emissions for households and businesses consistent with Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan.
This includes $247.1 million to support private sector investment in low emission technologies such as hydrogen, $148.6 million to support reliable power in rural Australia such as community microgrid projects, and $50.3 million to accelerate priority gas infrastructure projects, and funding to remain available under the Emissions Reduction Fund or Climate Solutions fund.
Export Market Development Grant
An additional $80 million has been added to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme to assist Australian businesses re-establish their export markets.
Regional Accelerator Program (RAP)
The Government has announced $2 billion in funding over five years from 2022-23 to drive economic growth and productivity in regional Australia. Whilst it is unclear how the funding will be allocated, it is slated to assist regional businesses and communities better access existing programs including the MMI, EMDG, Recycling Modernisation Fund, Defence Industry Programs, Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative, and Australian Apprenticeship Initiatives.
BDO welcomes the additional funding under the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Health and Defence portfolios that will continue to support the Government’s six priority sectors, address critical supply chain vulnerabilities, invest in emerging industries such as the space sector and support rural Australia. However, we await further detail on specific incentives for businesses to understand how they will access specific opportunities, particularly under the National Space Mission.
We would prefer to see funding distributed more broadly across the portfolio to reach more entities than just those in the Government’s priority sectors. It is also worth noting the Government is still yet to announce the outcome of several grant programs announced in the 2021-2022 Budget.