The Victorian Coalition Government today committed $10 million over the next three years to the Smarter Resources Smarter Business program aimed at improving waste and energy efficiency of Victoria's small to medium sized businesses.
Speaking at an Australian Industry Group (AIG) luncheon Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said small to medium sized businesses are facing increased costs as a result of the Gillard Government's carbon tax, but have been neglected by the federal Government's assistance package.
"This program will establish businesses as leaders in resource efficiency, and further embed sustainable practices in routine business operations ensuring not only benefits to the environment but investment in productivity and competitiveness," Mr Smith said.
"The Smarter Resources, Smarter Business program will help bridge the gap created by the carbon tax."
Funding will help sharpen business performance and cut costs by providing:
- information and tools to help businesses understand and improve their resource efficiency;
- business support through networking opportunities and technical advice to help businesses implement resource efficiency solutions;
- capital support through grants to help businesses purchase resource efficient equipment; and
- a recognition program to acknowledge businesses that have implemented resource efficient practices to help them communicate their environmental achievements to customers and gain a competitive edge.
The recognition program was announced in this year's State Budget as part of the Backing Green Business Plan.
"By using energy, materials and water more efficiently, and reducing waste and pollution, businesses will not only reduce their environmental impact, but also the cost of doing business under a carbon tax," Mr Smith said.
In an economy with an increasing focus on sustainability, participating businesses will gain the competitive edge.
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said the Coalition Government recognised that there were challenges for businesses including the high Australian dollar and the higher energy costs under the carbon tax.
"The Coalition Government recognises that these businesses play a vital role in the Victorian economy, contributing almost 40 per cent of the state's GDP," Ms Asher said.
"We are committed to ensuring our financial assistance to business is based on an increase in productivity, diversification of products, or investments that will enable companies to compete in international markets."
Smarter Resources Smarter Business is open to all medium sized businesses in Victoria which are defined as those with 20 to 199 employees.The delivery of the program is being led by Sustainability Victoria which has been working closely with industry, business networks, and government agencies to make sure the program meets the needs of businesses and industry sectors.
Smarter Resources Smarter Business will complement other recent announcements from the Coalition Government's Conserve, Invest and Save strategy, such as Driving Investment in New Recycling and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Grants. For further information go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au