Researchers In Business

What happened to the Researchers in Business Program? The 2014 Federal budget advised this scheme would be retained. Our investigations have revealed it is likely to return in September 2014 and the scheme will be very similar to the previous program. If you are interested in claiming this grant please let us know so we can keep you informed.

CRC’s Awarded $148M For 2011

The successful applicants of this year’s CRC selection round were announced today.  Only 6 applications were successful from the 26 applications received. The agricultural sector, automotive industry and urban water managers were among the communities who will benefit from the recent decision.

The successful CRCs are:

  • Automotive Australia 2020 CRC ($26 million): will undertake research programs and build human capital in areas of vehicle electrification, gaseous fuels and production of greener vehicles and components.
  • CRC for Low Carbon Living ($28 million): will bring together leading researchers and key end-users to develop new tools to reduce carbon emissions and transform the built environment to a low carbon future.
  • CRC for Polymers ($14.5 million): will contribute to establishing Australia as a leading provider and exporter of products that meet emerging global needs in the areas of health therapies, water and food security and low-cost solar energy.
  • CRC for Water Sensitive Cities ($30 million): will deliver the planning, technology and decision support tools required to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of urban water systems.
  • Invasive Animals CRC ($19.7 million): will deliver key technologies to reduce the impacts of new and existing pest animals on Australia’s agricultural competitiveness and biodiversity assets.
  • Plant Biosecurity CRC ($29.7 million): will develop and deploy the knowledge and tools to safeguard Australia from damaging plant pest incursions.

More information on the CRC program and the successful centres is available at www.crc.gov.au.

Green Buildings Program

Shopping centres, hotels and office block owners are finding it easier to upgrade and reduce greenhouse gas emissions thanks to the Government’s Green Building Fund and Tax Breaks for Green Buildings Program.  Announcing $35.2 million in funding to green-up 90 buildings nationally, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said Australia’s commercial buildings generate significant greenhouse gas emissions every year.

The Government and building owners must work together to improve our buildings and create a richer, fairer and greener Australia, Senator Carr said.  The buildings that will be transformed include hotels, shopping centres and office blocks. We expect the upgrades to reduce the buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 118,000 tonnes a year.

The fit-outs the companies will undertake may include new state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning systems, smart room controllers (for hotel guest rooms), energy efficient lighting systems and building energy management systems. These improvements will significantly reduce energy, saving the environment and saving money for the business owner.

The Green Building Fund has now generated total expected emission savings of almost 300,000 tonnes per year – an outstanding result. A list of Round 7 grant offers is available. The Fund complements the Government’s Clean Energy Future initiative (www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au), which is supporting jobs and providing incentives for Australians to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency. This investment will help the Australian economy remain competitive as countries around the globe move to reduce carbon pollution.

From 1 July 2012, eligible businesses that invest in improving the energy efficiency of their existing buildings will be able to apply for a tax break through the $1 billion Tax Breaks for Green Buildings Program.

Buying The Mining Industry

The Government today announced the politically motivated $34.4 million Buy Australian at Home and Abroad initiative to provide Australian suppliers with have a better chance of benefiting from the nation’s major resources projects.  These major resources projects can provide significant opportunities for Australian suppliers. Unfortunately, some suppliers have been missing out because of established global vendor lists and the trend toward pre assembled modules.   The Government’s stated objective for this initiative is to spread the opportunities of the mining boom to more Australians and more Australian businesses.

Australian manufacturers and service providers have proved to the Government that they can compete and collaborate with the world’s best. This new initiative will ensure they know where the opportunities are so the benefits of the resources boom can be spread across the country.

New Enterprise Connect Business Advisers will work directly with small companies to help them grow as suppliers to the resources sector. They will partner with new industry Supplier Advocates to embed Australian business in the resources sector supply chains. Through the Industry Capability Network (ICN), specialist advisers will work with the procurement teams of major projects like the Woodside Browse LNG development in Western Australia, the INPEX Ichthys project in Northern Territory, and LNG projects in Queensland.

Increased funding of $1 million per annum will expand the reach of the ICN’s vital work, making it easier and cheaper for buyers and suppliers to do business.   To coordinate these activities I will establish a Resources Sector Supplier Advisory Forum and appoint a Resources Sector Supplier Envoy in consultation with the Minister for Resources and Energy. The Forum will include representatives from major resources companies, unions, manufacturers and resources technology services firms. The Envoy’s role will be to champion Australian industry participation in the resources sector.

Australia India Strategic Research Fund Boost

The Australian Government announced today 18 collaborative projects involving Australian and Indian scientists that have been awarded $5 million under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, with matching funding provided by the Government of India.  Top scientists benefit from this multi-million dollar program with India that could lead to better vaccines, more temperature tolerant crops, healthier foods and greater protection for our marine systems.

This is Australia’s largest bilateral research fund, providing $65 million over eight years from 2006-07.  This funding will enable leading Australian and Indian scientists to combine their unique strengths and tackle the big issues facing both communities, such as growing healthy crops and protecting precious groundwater environments.

Grants have been awarded to 12 Australian universities and research institutes, including James Cook University, the CSIRO, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, the Australian National University, Melbourne University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland.

Projects to be supported under Round five of the fund include:

  • the development of a novel class of anti-cancer agents targeting the immune system;
  • the design of malaria vaccines;
  • developing methods for the production of omega-3 concentrates for functional foods,
  • pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals;
  • improving high-temperature tolerance in crop plants; and
  • advancing our ability to predict plant distributions under changed climates.

Other projects supported by the fund are in

  • nanotechnology,
  • marine and earth sciences,
  • biomedical devices and implants, and
  • stem cells.

For further information on the fund is available at www.innovation.gov.au/AISRF

Australian Cheese And Curd Exports

Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade has advised that imports of cheese and curd (other cheese) from Australia are approaching the trigger level at which a special safeguard measure (temporary tariff increase) will be applied.

  • This information applies only to exports of Australian cheese and curd (other cheese) in tariff line 0406.90 which are subject to special agricultural safeguard (SSGs) provisions under the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Other products are not affected.
  • As at 8 March 2011, imports from Australia had reached 409.41 tons. DAFF was unfortunately unable to confirm the exact trigger volume for 2011 from Thai Customs prior to 9 March 2011. However, DAFF has been advised that the applicable SSG trigger level for 2011 is approximately 464.12 tons. This level has been adjusted down from 482.43 tons to allow for product in transit to Thailand when the SSG triggered in 2010.
  • Consistent with the TAFTA, once the specified trigger level has been reached, the tariff rate applying to these exports to Thailand will increase from the TAFTA preferential rate for 2011 of 18 per cent to the general (most favoured nation) tariff rate of 30 per cent, until the end of the calendar year.
  • Shipments en route to Thailand when the trigger level is reached, with a contract settled before the trigger level is reached, will attract the TAFTA preferential rate, but will be counted in the volume of imports towards the 2012 trigger levels.
  • SSG provisions under TAFTA apply to 41 tariff items nominated by Thailand during TAFTA negotiations. The SSG provision on these tariff lines will apply through to 2020.
  • DAFF is working with Thai officials to determine the actual trigger levels for 2011 for all other products subject to SSGs. DAFF will provide further advice to stakeholders when the trigger levels for 2011 can be confirmed by Thailand.
  • DAFF has sought a review of the TAFTA SSGs, with the aim of reaching agreement on higher trigger levels for a range of products, including cheese and curd (other cheese), and improved administrative arrangements of SSGs. DAFF will continue its representations to Thai authorities on the matter. In the interim, the present arrangements remain in operation.

For any further information please contact Louise Graham, ASEAN Section, Trade and Market Access Division, phone 02 6272 5554 or email: Louise.Graham@daff.gov.au
 

Strategic Tourism Investment Grant Open

Applications for the Strategic Tourism Investment Grants opened today to give tourism operators the opportunity to revolutionise their products with project funding of up to $1 million to be matched dollar for dollar with private sector investment.  The Strategic Tourism Investment Grants is part of a $40 million investment over 4 years in the tourism industry under the TQUAL Grants program. They will support three key national priorities – Indigenous tourism, economic development and tourism employment. These grants are a new feature of the TQUAL program and will build on the previous success of the Tourism Quality Projects, which provide funding of up to $100,000.  This is the first time Australian tourism operators will be able to apply for large-scale funding to take successful projects to an entirely new level.

Tourism employs directly and indirectly close to one million Australians and is a major part of our economy. But tourism is not just about marketing, it is also about offering the best and most competitive products and experiences – and that requires substantial investment to make it happen. By investing in quality products and services through TQUAL Grants, it is hoped the supply side of the industry will be enhanced and tourism operators will have the best chance possible to carve out a greater share of what is a challenging global market.

The first step in the Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program is a call for project suggestions from the tourism industry, all levels of government, community groups and individuals. The Australian Government will then assess and select successful projects, before putting out a further call for grant applications to deliver the successful projects. This competitive process is planned to ensure the best projects receive funding and value for money in return for the substantial government support.

The program will be open continuously throughout the funding period – meaning applicants aren’t constrained by arbitrary time frames or funding rounds.

TQUAL Grants supports the National Tourism Accreditation Framework and other measures within the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy.  These measures are designed to heighten quality throughout our largest services export industry.

More information on TQUAL Grants including Tourism Quality Projects and Strategic Tourism Investment Grants is available by contacting grants@pattens.com or calling 1800 PATTENS.

 

More Super For Over 55’s

This measure is one of a number of reforms, including increasing the superannuation guarantee rate to 12 per cent and a Government contribution for low income earners, which will directly impact the cost of conducting business in Australia  While it will deliver improvements in retirement savings and a variation to the distribution of superannuation taxation concessions, someone has to pay and unfortunately it will be struggling businesses.

A discussion paper on this topic was released today by the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.The discussion paper presents a number of options for key parameters of the measure, including the process for determining eligibility for the higher cap and methodology for determining total superannuation account balances.

The Government has invited interested parties to view the consultation paper and provide comments. Copies of the consultation paper can be viewed on the Treasury website www.treasury.gov.au. The closing date for submissions is 25 March 2011.

Submissions may be lodged electronically or by post to:

Manager, Contributions & Accumulation Unit
Personal and Retirement Income Division
The Treasury, Langton Crescent
PARKES ACT 2600

Email: over50supercap@treasury.gov.au

Carbon Price Plan

The carbon price provides an incentive for businesses with the highest levels of pollution to reduce their pollution.

The Government says they will then use every cent raised to:

  • Assist families with household bills
  • Help businesses make the transition to a clean energy economy
  • Tackle climate change

An initial fixed carbon price will provide businesses with a stable and predictable platform to transition to a ‘cap and trade’ emissions trading scheme that will be linked to international carbon markets.

The public and interested parties who wish to provide input on this approach should contact: MPCCC@climatechange.gov.au, or write to:

The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee Secretariat
GPO Box 854
Canberra ACT 2601
Australia

Further information in relation to this proposed approach is available at www.climatechange.gov.au or contact Pattens at grants@pattens.com

 

Green Building Scheme Tax Breaks

Tax breaks for redevelopments that will substantially improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings are the subject of a new public consultation paper released today by Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus. The consultation paper has been prepared to explain the key features of the proposed program design, in particular, the eligibility criteria and assessment and certification processes.

Organisations and individuals are welcome to submit their views on the proposed program design by 18 February 2011. Details on how to make a submission can be found in sections 1.4 and 1.5 of the consultation paper.