Federal election 2022: Labor to create $1b fund for manufacturing innovation

Australia's traditional manufacturing industries will get additional federal backing for innovation and restoring lost manufacturing jobs if federal Labor wins government.

Anthony Albanese will on Sunday announce a $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund to diversity and rebuild Australia's industrial base in transport, defence, resources, agricultural and food processing, medical science, renewables and low-emissions technologies manufacturing.

Under the plan, businesses would gain access to capital to diversify operations, industrial processes, and use research and development to climb the technological ladder.

The party wants to identify projects that support innovation and grow advanced manufacturing jobs, with individual investments managed through Mr Albanese's promised $15 billion national reconstruction fund.

The Labor leader will promise a wide-ranging consultation with local communities, businesses, unions, regional development authorities, states and local governments to find worthy projects, if he gains office on May 21.

"I want to be the prime minister who helps Australia stand on our own two feet again. This is about sovereign capability," Mr Albanese said.

"Serious countries should make things. Serious countries can stand on their own two feet when it comes to manufacturing essentials."

Anthony Albanese wants Australian businesses to diversify and innovate to climb the technological ladder. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Anthony Albanese wants Australian businesses to diversify and innovate to climb the technological ladder. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Labor says the Coalition government oversaw the loss of 85,000 manufacturing jobs since it came to office. But the ALP's employment spokesman Richard Marles did not make a specific promise of how many jobs it would restore if Labor regained power.

"There are hundreds of thousands of skilled and well-paid jobs up for grabs, but if manufacturing all goes overseas, we will miss out," Mr Marles said.

"Only Labor will ensure we come out of the pandemic stronger through bringing manufacturing home."

Labor has already committed to creating two other $1 billion funds; one for advanced technology and one for value-adding in resources, from its $15 billion nation-building investment, as well as a start-up year loans scheme targeted at graduating university students.

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Ed Husic, Labor's industry and innovation spokesman, said the Coalition had run down manufacturing capability, jobs having been lost as a result.

"Labor wants to back the local know-how that is keen to not just rebuild manufacturing but use our smarts and technology to put our advanced manufacturing potential at the front of the global pack."

The commitment comes as the Coalition has promised $445 million in additional funding to boost manufacturing capability and supply chain resilience in six priority areas, both to expand domestic capability and jobs as part of its existing modern manufacturing strategy.

The government's manufacturing priorities include space, defence, food and beverages, recycling and clean energy, resources and medical products.

Earlier this year the government identified seven manufacturing categories of national interest for securing supply chain resilience: semi-conductors, agricultural chemicals, water treatment chemicals, telecommunications equipment, plastics, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment.

This story Labor to create $1b fund for manufacturing innovation, diversification first appeared on The Canberra Times.