Minister for Manufacturing Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva today launched the Victorian Manufacturing Productivity Networks $7.5 million competitive grant program, which will help Victorian manufacturing networks assist members to improve productivity and competitiveness.
Mr Dalla-Riva made the announcement at Bendigo's Hofmann Engineering, which is one of the largest Australian-owned manufacturing companies in Australia and a major employer in Victoria, with 100 employees in Bendigo and a further 73 in Melbourne.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that Victoria's manufacturing sector is supported with a policy framework that will enable it to remain competitive in a globalised marketplace," Mr Dalla-Riva said.
"We undertook the most comprehensive review of manufacturing done anywhere in Australia, listened to industry, and developed the policies that they believed would assist the sector in these challenging times – this $7.5 million announcement today for Manufacturing Productivity Networks is part of that $58 million policy commitment in this year's State Budget."
Mr Dalla-Riva said the Manufacturing Productivity Networks would drive innovation through knowledge-sharing among Victoria's manufacturing businesses.
"To compete successfully in domestic and global markets, Victoria's manufacturers need to be dynamic, innovative and world-class in their performance and productivity and the transfer of knowledge through Manufacturing Networks plays an important part," Mr Dalla-Riva said.
"The Coalition Government has already indicated its intention to support the Ballarat manufacturing sector under this initiative and we also hope to support other regional manufacturing networks. This complements the support we are already providing to the Geelong Manufacturing Council to deliver the $800,000 Industry Innovation Program in conjunction with Deakin University."
Manufacturing Productivity Network grants are available in two streams. Networks can apply for up to $50,000 to support activities that explore, plan for and scope productivity enhancements.
Funding of up to $600,000 over three years is also available to undertake significant projects to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of network members, such as employing a facilitator for a productivity initiative, contracting supply chain or expert manufacturing advice, exploring new manufacturing technologies or undertaking a significant research project.
Applications for funding are open now and close on 12 October 2012. The online application process is accessible on the Business Victoria website at www.business.vic.gov.au/mpn
Applications can only be made online and must be submitted by the advertised closing date.