Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will up the ante in the debate about the future of manufacturing, promising to establish a $15 billion reconstruction fund should it be returned at the next election.
This comes mid-way through the rollout of the federal government’s manufacturing modernisation initiative – a tenth the value of Labor’s promise.
At the same time a caninet reshuffle has seen an embattled and inexperienced minister take over the industry portfolio (read @AuManufacturing’s view here).
According to a report in The Guardian, Albanese will tell Labor’s national conference in Sydney on Tuesday that the fund is designed to reverse the long-term decline in manufacturing so we could make ‘cars, trains and ships’.
The fund would be run by an independent board, and modelled on the successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation which invests and loans cash to businesses, in the process making a seven-year rate of return of 4.75 per cent.
Outgoing industry minister Karen Andrews has been rolling out the government’s initiative and working on the policy which will apply when the six manufacturing sector growth centres come to an end of their planned life.
This is a difficult policy issue and one Porter must get right if the progress made by the growth centres and bodies such as the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre is to continue.
The CEFC model differs from the growth centres which provide grants.
In this way the $15 billion fund would likely be more than recouped over time.
The Guardian also reported that Albanese would reform government procurement and strengthen Australian Industry Participation Plans.
Picture: Anthony Albanese
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