The 2014-15 Budget sets a new direction for industry policy. It includes commitments of more than $1.4 billion to assist small and medium-sized businesses to become more competitive and expand into new markets, generate jobs and skill Australia’s workforce.
Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme
A new $484.2 million Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme (EIP) and a streamlined single business service initative will commence 1 July 2014. The EIP will drive business competitiveness and economic growth by supporting business improvement and commercialisation. Register to find out more about the Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme.
Single Business Service
The new single business service for industry programs will help businesses find and access information and services through a delivery ‘centre of excellence’. The Department will look to consolidate its business facing programs and services into a single website and call centre, as well as face-to-face support from the Department of Industry’s existing business advisory network. Look out for more details on the website.
Industry Skills Fund
The Department of Industry’s new single business service will also deliver a comprehensive $476 million Industry Skills Fund that will streamline training and better position industry to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. It will complement the Government’s investment in the Trade Support Loans scheme, which offers loans of up to $20,000 over the life of an apprenticeship.
The $155 million Growth Fund is a key plank in the Australian Government’s long-term strategy to pivot Australia towards the industries of the future, and to maximise the opportunities for the people and regions most affected by the end of local car manufacturing.
The fund was established by the Australian Government with support from the South Australian and Victorian Governments and contributions from GM Holden and Toyota. It includes a $60 million Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme to accelerate private sector investment in high value non-automotive manufacturing sectors in South Australia and Victoria; and a $30 million Regional Infrastructure Programme to support investment in non-manufacturing opportunities in affected regions.
Closure of ProgrammesThe Government’s commitment to streamlining support for business, along with its focus on repairing the Budget, will result in the closure of some existing industry programmes and a reduction in funding for others.
Commercialisation Australia has now closed. The Department of Industry stopped accepting applications for the program on 21 March 2014. Applications received on or before that date will be assessed and funding provided on merit. Any applications received after 21 March will not be accepted.
Other programmes closed to new applications include the Clothing and Household Textiles Building Innovative Capability Scheme and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Small Business Program, however the closure of these programs will require legislative changes. The Innovation Investment Fund is also closed, and Round 4 will not proceed, while the Automotive Transformation Scheme will run until 31 December 2017.
The Enterprise Solutions Program, which had not opened to applications will now not proceed, while applications received for the first round of the Plantation Manufacturing Innovation and Investment Fund will not be considered.
The Cooperative Research Centres Program will have its funding reduced by $80 million, and the current Round 17 for new CRCs will not proceed.
The size of the refundable and non-refundable components of the R&D Tax Incentive will be reduced, however implementation of this measure will require legislative changes.
Other Department of Industry programmes to close are Enterprise Connect, Industry Innovation Precincts, Opening up Opportunities through Australian Industry Participation and Industry Innovation Councils. In the skills area, ten programmes will close including Apprentice to Business Owner and Australian Accelerated Apprenticeships.
For more information on individual programmes visit the AusIndustry website.