Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, very recently announced the opening of the Manufacturing Transition Programme, with $50M on the table for Australian business looking to upskill its operations.

The Manufacturing Transition Programme officially opened 1 September 2014, and is accepting applications until 24 October 2014. The first round is offering grants between $1M and $10M, covering up to 25% of a project’s cost over a two-year period.

The grants are aimed at supporting capital investment projects that help businesses:

  • move or expand into higher value or niche manufacturing activities
  • build skills in higher value and knowledge intensive activities in new or growing markets

It is a competitive, merit-based programme for projects that have a spend of $4M or more. Competitive projects should be able to demonstrate clear productivity benefits associated with upskilling local industry inline with policy objectives. 

A range of project activities are eligible, as you might expect, broadly associated with purchasing, commissioning and training operators in new machinery and equipment. 

Interestingly, the program contemplates the purchase of ‘technology and intellectual property’ as eligible project activity. Presumably, this refers to the acquisition of relevant know-how and any associated rights that may attach to an advanced manufacturing project. 

“The Australian Government is delivering practical and targeted programmes that support Australia’s manufacturing sector as it transitions towards higher-value, knowledge-based activities.,” said industry minister Ian Macfarlane in a statement launching the programme, on 1 September.