New Single Business Service

You may have noticed the AusIndustry website is no longer active. As part of the government’s consolidation of services the single access point for most government activities, including grants, is now
The new Single Business Service has necessitated that the previous Case Managers for Commercialisation Australia and Enterprise Connect are now part of AusIndustry and able to be contacted there.

Industry Transformation Research Program

The Government announced the Industry Transformation Research Program today.  This new $249 million package is designed to help Australian industries become more competitive and create new job opportunities.

The Industry Transformation Research Program and cadetship package includes:

  • More than 1,000 engineering cadetships over the next four years so students can get the work experience they need to kick-start their careers in manufacturing and other Australian industries.
  • New research training centres that will provide quality industrial doctoral and postdoctoral training for up to 600 PhD students each year.
  • New research hubs bringing researchers and industry representatives together to design and engineer commercially and technically viable solutions to some of our most pressing industrial problems.

Manufacturers will have the benefit of additional research expertise and knowledge to tackle difficult problems in key sectors such as metals, food, energy, textiles, building and automotive.

For more information on the Industrial Transformation Research Program, please visit


Round 15 CRC Program Announced

The 15th Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) funding round for 2012 will focus on clean manufacturing, social innovation and sustainable regional communities which are seen to represent significant challenges for our nation and are vital to our economic and social prosperity.

In the 15th selection round, the CRC committee will place a particular focus on applications that address the program priority areas, although applications remain open to all sectors and research disciplines, and the emphasis on quality and path to utilisation will not be diminished. In developing their proposals, applicants are encouraged to consider international linkages and collaborations.

The CRC program nurtures Australians’ innate resourcefulness and innovativeness by building strong collaborations that bridge the divide between our world-class researchers and our industries and community groups, so we can tackle major challenges head on. The CRC program is partnerships between publicly funded researchers and end users – private, public or community sectors that can deploy research outcomes.

For more information on the program, selection rounds and current CRCs, visit

Small Business Is Big Business

A new report released today confirms the significance of Australia’s two million small businesses to the Australian economy.  The research reinforces the essential and vital a role the small business sector plays in Australia’s economic life.  The report was compiled by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other sources.

Australia’s small businesses account for nearly 98 per cent of all businesses in the agriculture sector, about 96 per cent in the services sector, about 91 per cent in the mining sector and just over 88 per cent in the manufacturing sector and also accounted for nearly half of total industry employment and a third of industry value-added in  2009/10.  Clearly small businesses have a major presence in all industry sectors.

There are a number of Government support programs that directly assist small businesses, including the Small Business Advisory Services program. The Government has already committed $48.25 million to fund 37 Business Enterprise Centres around Australia through this program.

A copy of Small Business Key Statistics is available at

Details of the support available for small businesses is available by contacting the team at Pattens.

Illawarra Region Innovation And Investment Fund

The Government’s new $30 million Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund, announced last week in response to job losses at BlueScope Steel, specifically targets firms providing: engineering, construction and support services to heavy process manufacturing and the mining industry; manufacturing for the power, mining and transport sectors; engineered equipment for oil, gas and downstream industries; and firms involved in creative multimedia and software development.  Illawarra firms are innovative and are being encouraged to invest in new clean technology to apply to the Fund.

Firms like Partech Systems Pty Ltd, a local firm working in partnership with a researcher from the University of Wollongong, are developing and marketing a low cost solar-powered rail level crossing control system. The Government is currently backing Partech with a $50,000 Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business grant.

The University of Wollongong’s new Sustainable Buildings Research Centre will be located on the Innovation Campus. The Centre is part of the Retrofitting for Resilient and Sustainable Buildings (RRSB) project. This project will help transform our construction industry by discovering sustainable building practices and products and find ways to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings.  The Centre and the RRSB project are great news for the Illawarra region. The RRSB project, with the Centre as its main research facility, will create over 100 research jobs and open up to 100 undergraduate and 200 post-graduate positions, which will train students in sustainable construction technologies and practices.

Supplier Access To Major Projects Program

Australian suppliers will be helped to compete for contract opportunities in five major projects in the lucrative resources and health sectors with $1.2 million from the Industry Capability Network (ICN) through the Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program announced today.

The Government is trying to ensure competitive and capable Australian companies are given a fair go when tendering for contracts in an internationally competitive environment by promoting the capability of Australian firms in areas where they may be overlooked.  Our comparative isolation means Australia has had to develop its own technologies, products and processes in many different industry sectors and that expertise is now highly marketable globally.

The Government announced the Buy Australian at Home and Abroad initiative in its 2011-12 Budget, which included additional funding for SAMP, to boost Australian industry participation in major resource sector projects. This will allow the ICN to work with a greater number of resources projects and further increase opportunities for Australian industry.

The five projects will help Australian suppliers access opportunities in China’s coal mining sector, INPEX’s proposed Ichthys LNG development project, Eni’s Kitan oil field development project and related infrastructure development projects in East Timor, oil and gas module contractors and global procurement hubs in Asia, as well as the engineering and fit-out of new hospitals in the ASEAN region.

Regional Relocation Grant

The Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Act 2011 will operate for 4 years commencing 1 July 2011. The scheme will provide applicants with a one-off payment of $7,000 to assist them with the cost of relocating from their metropolitan home to a regional home. The metropolitan area includes the local government areas of the Sydney metropolitan area, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Gosford, Wyong, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Newcastle. The regional areas are participating local government areas which are located outside of the metropolitan area.

To be eligible for the $7,000 Regional Relocation Grant, the following criteria apply:

  • All applicants must be natural persons and must not purchase the regional home in his or her capacity as trustee
  • At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident as at the completion date of the regional home purchase
  • All applicants must have entered into an agreement to purchase a home within a regional area, on or after 1 July 2011 and on or before 30 June 2015
  • All applicants must have owned and occupied the metropolitan home as their principal place of residence within 12 months before the commencement date (contract exchange date) of the regional home purchase
  • The consideration for the purchase or the unencumbered value of the regional home must not exceed $600 000
  • All applicants must sell the metropolitan home either before or within 12 months after the completion date of the regional home purchase
  • All applicants must occupy the regional home as their principal place of residence for at least 12 continuous months commencing within 12 months after the completion date of the regional home purchase
  • An applicant must not have received an earlier grant under the Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Act 2011.

Carbon Tax $12M Advertising Campaign

The Gillard Government will undertake a $12m public information campaign to explain to Australians why the climate tax is good for us.  The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the campaign would provide information about the Government’s plan to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution including through a carbon price.  It will also showcase the great work already being undertaken by everyday Australians to achieve a clean energy future.   As part of this campaign, the Government will develop national television and print advertising.

The Minister said “Climate change is a significant economic and environmental challenge that affects all Australians. The Government has a responsibility to provide the Australian community with clear information on climate change and to explain the context and objectives of its climate policy.”

The final decision on proceeding with advertising would depend on the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee discussions and on an advertising campaign meeting the requirements of the Government’s Guidelines on Campaign Advertising.

To help the public understand the challenges of climate change and the opportunities for a clean energy future, the Government will also launch a $3 million grant program on 30 June 2011.   The Government will provide grants of up to $250,000 for organisations to engage with the public on the opportunities of a clean energy future.  The grant program guidelines and application process will be made available on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website from 30 June 2011. The $8.2 million allocated in the 2011-12 Budget for the Climate Change Foundation Campaign will fund this grants program, partnerships and other community engagement activities.

Happy 3rd Birthday Enterprise Connect

Enterprise Connect – the Australian Government’s $50 million a year small business assistance program – is celebrating its third birthday.  Since 2008, Enterprise Connect has helped over 7,500 businesses with a range of services including advice, researcher placements, workshops, events and grants. The Tailored Advisory Service grants scheme has helped a wealth of these businesses improve the way they do business in the long-term.

The rising dollar, increasingly competitive global markets and the low-carbon economy provide challenges for Australian industry.  To help businesses rise to new challenges, new elements are progressively added to the Enterprise Connect program. This includes adapting to climate change (Clean 21 Technology Innovation Network) and increasing competitiveness (Buy Australian at Home and Abroad).

Twenty-two businesses who have partnered with Enterprise Connect are finalists in this year’s Endeavour Awards. A list of the companies and more information on the Awards and Manufacturing Week. For more information on the many opportunities available and to identify other grants for your business, call the grant experts, Pattens on 1800 PATTENS.


Alternative Securities Exchange Approved

In August 2009, the Government announced important reforms to transfer supervisory responsibility for Australia’s financial markets to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Since the Government announced in-principle approval of Chi-X in March 2010, ASIC has worked carefully and methodically to develop robust market integrity rules. These rules are designed to ensure the strength and stability of our financial system while allowing vibrant competition from alternative securities trading platforms.

Today the Australian Government today granted a licence to Chi-X Australia Pty Ltd (Chi-X) as an alternative securities exchange to boost competition in Australia’s financial markets, as part of a broad agenda to build our reputation as a financial services hub within Asia.  The new market licence will be granted subject to Chi-X meeting strict conditions in relation to resourcing, including the establishment of an adequate compensation fund and robust testing of its technological infrastructure.

If you are seeking equity funding, contact Pattens on 1800 PATTENS.  We are an approved and accredited Australian Small Scale Offering Board (ASSOB) sponsor.  See