Steel Transformation Plan Open

Eligible companies will be able to apply for $164 million in competitiveness assistance advances under the Australian Government’s Steel Transformation Plan (STP) from today, despite the best efforts of the Coalition to block this assistance.  The Steel Transformation Plan comes into effect following Royal Assent to the Clean Energy Bills and the Steel Transformation Plan Bill.

Under the competitiveness assistance advances, the Government has brought forward up to $164 million which will allow eligible participants to draw down advances of their future STP entitlements to help the industry become more competitive and sustainable.  When announcing the provision of competitiveness assistance advances, the Prime Minister advised that this facility will allow BlueScope Steel to bring forward into 2011-12 up to $100 million of the payments allocated to it under the STP.


Collaborative Solutions Program Round 2

The NSW government has called for applications for the second round of its collaborative solutions program with a project to focus on the development of mobile technologies to improve government services. This round of the program, called Mobile Government, will provide up to $1 million over the next year to support between 5 and 10 consortiums develop mobile solutions for the public sector.

This program is focused on accelerating development of new-to-market and significantly innovative mobile solutions that have significant potential for commercial success, job creation and exports.   Submissions must exhibit solutions developed for delivery via mobile phones or tablet device and would potentially have features including wireless broadband, mobile computing, mobile payments, location based services, augmented reality, mobile social media or sensor technologies. Solutions will be matched and trialled with agencies within the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, which encompasses tasks like economic development, primary industries, tourism and the arts.

Key requirements of applications include:

  • Consortia-backed submissions: Each submission must be backed by a consortium of at least three members.  The Consortia Lead must be a NSW-registered business with the capability to commercialise and export the ICT solution being developed.  The consortia must include at least one User Organisation (an agency within the Department) to participate in the development and piloting process.  The remaining consortia members will provide technologies, content or capabilities to the project.
  • Developed and piloted in NSW: Solutions must be predominantly developed in NSW.  Submissions with minor components (less than 20 per cent of project costs) developed outside of NSW will be considered, but those components will not be supported by the grant if one is awarded.  The solutions must be piloted in NSW.
  • Development has not commenced: The development of the proposed solution must not have commenced before the date of submission.  Any grant funding will be for the development and piloting of the proposed solution after the date of submission.

Submissions close on 29 February 2012 with successful applicants being announced in March.


$66M Education Investment Fund Grant

The Australian Government will provide grant funding of $66.5 million to world-leading research to help build one of the largest solar power plants in the world in northwest New South Wales – creating jobs, strengthening industry-research partnerships and securing Australia’s clean energy future.   Announcing the Education Investment Fund (EIF) grant today, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said it will underpin the Moree Solar farm, which will power around 45,000 homes, perform cutting-edge research and accelerate the development of the solar industry in Australia.

The research will enhance the performance, resilience, profitability and social benefits of large-scale solar photo voltaic power. The ambitious project shows Australia is capable of leading the world when it comes to clean energy.  The CSIRO will lead a consortium of researchers from the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle and Hunter TAFE to conduct research at the proposed Moree Solar farm – a $925 million project led by BP Solar, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and Pacific Hydro.

The Moree Solar Farm proposal is for a 150 megawatt photo voltaic power plant for outer Moree. Twice the size of any photo voltaic power plant operating in the world today, it is estimated that the project will create around 300-400 jobs during the construction phase.

The EIF funding will enable BP Solar, FRV and Pacific Hydro to work side-by-side with some of the foremost solar experts in Australia. As a result, what is learned from this project will provide a solid foundation for the development of a long-term solar industry in Australia. Preliminary research will begin this year, with completion and commissioning of the plant expected by the end of 2015

2011 EMDG Initial Payment Increased

The Trade Minister, Craig Emerson announced the initial payment ceiling for the EMDG scheme will be increased to $50,000 for the 2011 grant year which just ended, compared with the pathetic $27,500 which was paid in 2010. In making the announcement the Minister suggested the reduced demand for EMDG grants over the previous grant year, coupled with changes to the scheme in 2010, have permitted a higher initial payment this grant year.

The initial payment ceiling is the maximum amount that will be paid as a first installment to reimburse eligible EMDG applicants. “An initial payment amount of $50,000 is the most equitable distribution of grant funding within the available budget,” Dr Emerson said.  “It will provide grant recipients with a substantial level of immediate cash flow, which is always welcome at smaller companies.”

Recipients for the 2010–11 grant year with an entitlement up to and including $50,000 will be paid in full.  Those with entitlements above this amount will receive a second tranche at the end of June 2012, with the size of the payment to be determined then.  In the 2010–11 Budget, the Government committed to funding the EMDG scheme at $150.4 million a year, and also extended it for a further five years, to 2015–16.

The EMDG scheme is one of the ways in which the Australian Government provides assistance to small and medium-sized exporters. The grants reimburse exporters -up to a limit – for eligible expenses on the promotion and marketing of their international businesses.  For more information on this, and the other ways you can receive support for exporting activities contact Pattens, the grant experts on 1800 PATTENS.

TCF Strategic Capability Program 2nd Round

Applications for the second round of the TCF Strategic Capability Program opened today.  The program will allow TCF manufacturers can receive at least $250,000 to innovate so they could thrive in a low carbon economy and make their business stronger, greener and more competitive.  In the first round, the Government partnered with ten companies to progress exciting and visionary projects such as a nanotechnology textile manufacturing plant and a new textile roofing material that converts sunlight to electricity. For this round of funding, the Government is looking for applications that show innovation, collaboration, market access, business improvement, skills development, environmental sustainability and ethical practices. Consortia applications led by TCF businesses or industry bodies are encouraged.

The closing date for applications is 5 August 2011. Further details will be available shortly.
To be advised of the details when available, please email

New Australian Patent Database

The work of numerous Aussie inventors can now be accessed online thanks to the latest addition to AusPat, a database of patent records dating back to that first patent issued under Commonwealth legislation.  The new information may help modern day innovators by making it easier to find patented inventions, and provide a pool of priceless information for everyone interested in our nation’s history.  AusPat offers a significant improvement on the old process which had people searching through a myriad of paper, microfiche and electronic systems. The new tool will save modern Australian inventors time and effort as they can easily search the inventions that have come before them.  AusPat has data from over 7,300 books, 620,000 microfiche films and more than 37 million documents.

To access the AusPat search system visit

If you have an invention or innovative idea, why not take advantage of the government grants available to develop and commercialise it.  Contact Pattens on 1800 PATTENS, the grants experts.


The Federal and South Australian Governments are offering investment of $12 million through the South-East South Australia Innovation and Investment Fund (SE SAIIF) to encourage businesses in South Australia’s south-east to boost jobs and innovation. The Fund is a joint initiative between the Australian and the South Australian governments and it is expected the investment will create new long-term jobs in high-value manufacturing. The Fund was announced by the Ministers earlier this year following an announcement by Kimberly-Clark that more than 200 jobs would be lost at its Millicent site. The $12 million SESAIIF program is part of a $17 million package which includes up to $5 million for a labour adjustment program for Kimberly-Clark displaced workers that involves skill assessment and re-skilling workers.

Around 170 permanent and 35 temporary jobs were lost from Kimberly-Clark’s Millicent Mill following the international company restructure and 65 Australian jobs could be lost if there is no buyer for the Tantanoola pulp mill.  The SESAIIF is equivalent to $85,000 for each permanent full time job lost!  We leave you to work out the rationale behind the payment.

Through SE SAIIF grants, the government will invest in projects that will lead to the creation of high-value, high-skill jobs in the south-east region. This is hoped to strengthen the region’s manufacturing and service capacity and minimise unemployment.

The south-east is home to a major regional city – Mount Gambier – as well as several other commercial and service centres with access to infrastructure and transport networks, making it a great place to value-add and grow emerging industries.

Businesses looking to apply for funding can attend information sessions in the State. More information on these sessions will be provided through the local media. The Fund will be available over the 2011-12 to 2012-13 financial years. Applications close 5.30pm AEST 12 August 2011.

For more information visit

Tasmania ICT Centre Extended

The Tasmanian ICT Centre will be extended for a further five years from 2011-12 through a $50 million package to help Tasmania build the skills and tools needed to benefit from the digital age. The Labor Government is investing $40 million in vital research into enabling technologies that will help Tasmania explore possible benefits of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The Federal Government will directly commit $20 million of new money over five years – to be matched by the CSIRO – to continue the Centre’s groundbreaking work.  The Tasmanian Government will contribute a further $5 million, including $1.2 million from the Intelligent Island program, which is to be directed to this project under agreement with the Commonwealth. The final $5 million will be raised from industry.

The funding will be used to promote the development of new services that demonstrate the impact and value arising from the wide-scale connectivity provided by the NBN.  The Centre will host a node of the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation (ACBI) to leverage the opportunities and benefits that arise from this national platform.

In the Government’s opinion Tasmania is a ‘living laboratory’ of ideal size and scale to demonstrate technologies and to develop solutions with national and international potential.

The Tasmanian ICT Centre was created in 2006 as a research alliance between CSIRO, the Commonwealth Government and the Tasmanian Government with the goal of developing an internationally competitive ICT sector in Tasmania.  There is no comparable scheme available on the Australian mainland.  Perhaps the mainland does not require skills building and the tools required to enter the digital age.

Planning For Export Panel Discussion

Join the NSW Industry & Innovation April discussion where a panel of experienced exporters will debate the topic and provide tips on how you can identify and manage planning challenges, create and implement successful planning strategies.

When:           Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Where:         Hamilton Room, MLC Centre Level 47 – 19 Martin Place SYDNEY, 2000

This event is free of charge.   Further details are available at:

Preparing For Exporting

If you are serious about business you should at least consider exporting. Here are some useful tips to prepare your business to successfully export:

  1. Build A Corporate International Image
  2. Talk To Others, learn from their experience
  3. Learn About Export/Import Regulations And Terms Of Trade
  4. Hire experienced people or train your staff
  5. Get an international focused web site
  6. Take advantage of the Internet
  7. Acquire data->Information->Knowledge->Wisdom
  8. Talk to experienced professionals and Austrade
  9. Catch a plane!  Do your homework on the ground.
  10. Understand the different demands of each market
  11. Packaging optimisation for shipment
  12. Packaging, Quality, Price
  13. Be prepared to customise your products
  14. Create unique marketing strategy
  15. Develop a marketing plan and export plan for each market
  16. Set up export prices for each market
  17. Prepare a SWOT analysis
  18. Develop a problem solving plan
  19. Build an export network
  20. Develop “Export Inquiries Handling Rules”
  21. Negotiation is an art, learn about cultural differences
  22. After You Export – Add Value – build relationships
  23. Be Prepared To Meet Growing Demand
  24. Make Decisions On A Commercial Grounds
  25. Talk to the grants experts – Pattens.

Contact Pattens at or 1800 PATTENS to receive a free consultation to maximise your entitlement to the Export Market Development Grant (valued at $500)  The EMDG scheme can help new exporters mitigate the financial risk of exporting through reimbursement of export marketing expenses.