2014 Federal Budget Summary

The budget has closed Commercialisation Australia to new applications. Full applications submitted and accepted on or before 21 March 2014 will be assessed, and if meritorious against the assessment criteria they will be funded. All existing recipients of CA will still continue to be funded.
A new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme will replace:

  • Australian Industry Participation
  • Commercialisation Australia
  • Enterprise Solutions
  • Innovation Investment Fund
  • Industry Innovation Councils
  • Enterprise Connect
  • Industry Innovation Precincts
  • Textile, Clothing and Footwear Small Business and Building Innovative Capability

By discontinuing these programs the government will save $845 million over five years. Some of these funds ($484 million) will be distributed through the new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme.

VET Expansion Planned

The recently released annual national report of the Australian VET system revealed there were 1.8 million VET students in 2010-that’s an increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous year under the Government’s $11.1 billion investment in vocational education and training scheme. Between 2007 and 2009, the report shows the number of VET students completing their qualifications increased by 23 per cent from 321,000 to 394,000.

In addition to the $1.4 billion already provided to the states and territories each year, the Commonwealth Government has committed $1.75 billion over five years to overhaul the national training system.

Under the proposal which will go to the Council of Australian Government’s meeting next month:

  • all Australians will have access to a government subsidised training place up to their first Certificate III, and
  • interest-free loans will be available to all students studying publically-subsidised diplomas and advanced diplomas at approved VET providers, enabling up to 60,000 students per year to defer the upfront cost of tuition.

The proposed reforms build on the $3 billion Building Australia’s Future Workforce skills package announced in the last Budget including the new $558 million Workforce Development Fund.  (The National Workforce Development Fund is an industry-led training model designed to train up new and existing workers to meet the skills needs of businesses across the country.)

Commercialisation Australia Scheme Changes

From today Australian entrepreneurs will not have to repay Early Stage Commercialisation grants for businesses developing a new product, process, or service. Additionally, the annual turnover limit for applicants will rise from $20 million to $50 million and access to skilled managers now have the option to apply for an Experienced Executives grant of up to $350,000 – previously $200,000.

The government has foreshadowed further improvements to the scheme from early 2012 to support innovation in the manufacturing sector. The eligible expenditure guidelines for Early Stage Commercialisation grants will be amended to provide broader support for the development of pilot manufacturing plants and innovative manufacturing facilities.

Almost 180 innovators have already benefited from grants of $71.7 million from Commercialisation Australia, as well as expert advice from experienced case managers, to help turn their inventions into marketable products and services.

Australia China Science And Research Fund

Australia-China research collaborations will benefit from an additional $18 million over the next three years, with the opening of a dedicated Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF) this week.

The Australian Government is committing $A9 million to the Australia-China Science and Research Fund from 2011-12, which will be matched by the Chinese Government. This is in addition to recent reforms to assist Australian researchers to collaborate with international partners.  The recent commitment follows the announcement made earlier this year to provide funding to support Australia-China joint research centres. The Australian Government will provide up to $1 million for each centre which will be matched by the Chinese Government. Joint research centres must include at least one Australian Eligible Research Organisation and one Chinese partner. The Fund will also support Australia-China group missions and activities that encourage researchers from both countries to exchange research knowledge.

Demand for grants under the ACSRF is expected to be high and the fund’s program guidelines contain detailed information about how the fund will operate.  Applications for funding from joint research centres close on 27 February 2012, while group mission applications will be assessed as they are received.


National Science Week

National Science Week will engage communities across Australia between 11-19 August 2012 and will be officially opened today by the Minister for Innovation, Senator Kim Carr. Through the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia initiative, $500,000 in grants of between $2,000 and $25,000 will be available for individual one-year projects. If you have a great idea, you could be part of it.  For more details go to www.scienceweek.gov.au or contact us at Pattens.

New Car Plan Awards $6.2 Million

The Government announced 4 Green Car Innovation Fund grants today which will bring new technologies, skills and job creation to Australian manufacturing. Over $6.2 million was awarded to component manufacturers CFusion, Toyoda Gosei Australia, Composite Materials Engineering and Hirotec. The components being developed to retool the automotive industry should help cars that are friendlier on the environment and the pocket – in this case, the Government expects the four projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 133,000 tonnes and significantly reduce fuel consumption.

CFusion is using funding of around $1.4 million to commercialise the world’s first one-piece carbon fibre automotive wheel, at about half the weight of aluminium wheels.Toyoda Gosei is using funding of over $2.3 million to introduce and refine technologies for manufacturing lighter components, namely body sealing products and safety system products, such as air bag modules and plastic interior trim products. CME is using funding of $797,399 to develop a high strength, lightweight sandwich panel to be used in the load floor of Australian vehicles. This product will significantly reduce the weight of the load floor whilst meeting all of the performance requirements for this component. Hirotec is using funding of over $1.6 million to produce lighter automotive components including aluminium hoods and deck lids using innovative product design to significantly reduce the overall weight of passenger motor vehicles.

The Government’s $5.4 billion New Car Plan, which includes the Green Car Innovation Fund, was intended to transform the Australian automotive industry and ensuring significant co-investment from around the world.

While the Fund closed to new applications in January to help fund flood recovery, it is continuing to generate approximately $2 billion in total project investment in the manufacturing sector.  For information on new opportunities for clean technology research and development, contact Pattens on 1800 PATTENS.

$2.6M Climate Change Adaptation Research Grants

The Government today announced $2.6 million in grants for priority research into the social, economic and institutional dimensions of climate change across Australia. The research projects funded under the Climate Change Adaptation Research Grants program will explore adaptation measures to prepare people and institutions from the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Some of these research projects will focus on disadvantaged groups in society providing government with the information needed to assist these groups in preparing for future climate change.  The funding will support nine research projects investigating the impacts of climate change and practical adaptation options to support the community, as well as public and private institutions.

Grants awarded include:

  • University of Adelaide receive $250,000 to investigate the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of disadvantaged groups in society to assist in enhancing their resilience.
  • The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will use a $440,000 grant to assist native title bodies develop best practice approaches to climate change and support communities to adapt on native title lands.
  • A $200,000 grant will support Sydney University’s work on preventing heat-related premature deaths in aged care facilities.

The research will be managed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research.
For more information on these research projects visit the NCCARF website at: http://www.nccarf.edu.au


TCF Scheme Handouts $2.5M

The Government announced today payments of $2.5m for 67 companies under the Government’s Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Small Business Program to enable them to “refashion” their business enterprise culture with better business and management processes.  In announcing the successful recipients, Senator Carr said “By updating business processes, the 67 businesses stand a better chance of succeeding in a tough environment. The job prospects of 45,000 people – many in regional Australia – will be a lot more secure.”

The TCF sectors has been selected for support as they are faced challenging times and projects such as putting in place digital systems and improved management practices would help ensure the industry’s competitiveness and its long-term viability.   Other industry sectors and exporters are obviously not challenged by the tough economic times and don’t need support.

More than 45,000 people employed in the TCF industries.  By updating business processes, the 67 businesses stand a better chance of succeeding in a tough environment. The job prospects of 45,000 people – many in regional Australia – will be a lot more secure.  All states and the Northern Territory have received grants ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.  The successful recipients included:

  • The Australian Coat Company Pty Ltd in Slacks Creek, Queensland, is using its $27,600 grant to install a design/patternmaking system. It will streamline production, giving it the flexibility to move into new markets for protective oilskin coats, work and motorcycle gear.
  • The bridal wear business of Luci Di Bella (Belena Pty Ltd) in Armadale, Victoria, will fund a digital management system with its $50,000 grant. It will centralise business data and reporting for better analysis and decision making.
  • Betty Sugar Clothing in Beckenham, WA, will use its $17,550 to develop e-commerce business and marketing plans to improve financial management and enable the design and manufacturing business to be more profitable and sustainable.

For further details on this and the other 600 grants currently available, contact Pattens Group, the grants experts, on 1800 PATTENS

Linkage Project Scheme

The Linkage Projects scheme is a component of the ARC competitive grants suite which encourages partnerships with both local and overseas manufacturers and private enterprises. These partnerships help produce tangible, workable solutions to real issues, like climate change, health and national security.  31 Australian research institutions were recently awarded funding of $67 million.  They will partner with 436 national and international organisations. These organisations will top-up the Government’s Linkage Project Scheme investment with an additional $139 million in cash and in-kind support which will commence in July 2011.

The Government has announced funding of $67 million for the partnerships under the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme to strengthening research partnerships with industry because research and development was the key to a richer, fairer and greener future.

Funding is being provided for the following projects:

  • Swinburne University of Technology will use $300,000 to collaborate with dairy industry innovator Gardiner Foundation on research into skimmed milk processing. This uses ultrasonic waves and tiny bubbles to save energy and cleaning costs and develop future health products.
  • Monash University will use $360,399 to use the world-class research equipment available at Swedish and United States institutions to develop engineering and education solutions to reduce child injury and deaths in car crashes from the incorrect use of child restraints.
  • Needle-free vaccinations,
  • Protection from cyber-bullying
  • Understanding of the impact of sea change on coastal communities and
  • 217 others projects

For more information on the ARC and to view the media kit for this announcement, which including summaries of the research projects and information on the funding scheme, contact Pattens at grants@pattens.com  Additionally the new R&D Tax Credit, currently awaiting debate in the Senate, is also seen to strengthen the links between researchers and industry and encourage the creation of new and improved materials, products, processes and services, leading to greater prosperity and more high-wage, high-skill jobs for Australians.

For more information on the R&D Tax Credit and the Innovation portfolio, contact Pattens on 1800 PATTENS

Sunraysia TQUAL Grant

The Australian Government has agreed to contribute $100,000 under the TQUAL Grants program to the refurbishment of Peaka Homestead at the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens at Mourquong near Mildura. Peaka Homestead adds to an already impressive collection of heritage buildings.  It provides a fully operational catering kitchen and training room for use by tourists and students and allows for weddings and other functions on-site.

Bringing Peaka Homestead back to life brings together two important themes in tourism – food and heritage, At the same time, fresh produce from the Heritage Garden is finding its way into the kitchen, and visitors can learn how to harvest it and cook it for themselves.

More than 1,100 businesses in the outback New South Wales region rely on tourism to a greater or lesser extent.  Just over half of them employ fewer than 20 people, so the small business sector benefits from the visitors who come to this region – 655,000 in the last financial year alone, spending $208 million.

To date, TQUAL Grants has allocated over $8 million to tourism projects.  The Australian Government has committed an additional $40 million to TQUAL Grants over four years.  Information on TQUAL Grants funding is available atwww.ret.gov.au/tqual