Murray Olds: Scott Morrison unveils $1.5 billion plan to grow Australia’s economy

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Scott Morrison has pledged $1.5 billion to turbocharge Australia’s manufacturing industry as the government seeks to rebuild its way out of the coronavirus recession.
Mr Morrison unveiled the Federal Government’s new modern manufacturing initiative in a pre-budget speech at the National Press Club on Thursday.
Under the plan, $1.3 billion will be invested over four years in projects that will grow emerging technologies or where Australian manufacturers already have a competitive advantage.
“This is how you create jobs and recover from the COVID-19 recession,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is you build your economy back for the future.”
Six manufacturing areas have been identified as a priority for investment.
They include space, defence, food and beverage manufacturing, medical products, recycling and clean energy projects as well as resources technologies.
A further $107 million will also be invested in shoring up the domestic capability of manufacturers in supply chains found to be vulnerable – as seen with personal protective equipment during the pandemic.
Mr Morrison said the next phase of the manufacturing plan would involve working with industry to co-design a path to boost capability over the next two, five and 10 years.
“These industry-led road maps will identify growth opportunities, barriers to scale and required actions along the entire value chain in each of our priority sectors,” he said.
The plans due in April 2021 will also guide future investment and action from both government and industry.
“Our government is determined to set a 10-year time horizon where all parties – industry, workforce including unions, governments at all levels, capital including superannuation funds and our scientific and research community – are pulling in the one direction,” Mr Morrison said.
Manufacturing employs around 860,000 Australians and prior to the pandemic generated more than $100 billion in value for the economy annually.
However, gas makes up between 20 to 40 per cent of many industries costs, Mr Morrison said, pointing to his government’s plan to lower gas prices.
“If you’re not for gas, you’re not for jobs in our manufacturing and heavy industries,” he said.
“For many manufacturers, it is half the problem.”
Mr Morrison said next week’s Federal Budget would be “one of the most important since the end of the Second World War”.
“The budget will confirm the strong plan we have to recover from the COVID-19 recession and to build our economy for the future,” he said.

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