Analysis and Commentary

Government not giving up on industry growth centres just yet – Husic

Analysis and Commentary

The federal government hasn’t given up on the six industry growth centres (IGCs ) which were told during the dying days of the Coalition government that their days were numbered, with the then government making no apparent effort to develop a replacement programme.

A victim of the revolving door of industry ministers under the Coalition, industry minister Ed Husic has revealed that the centres will not come to an end as early as the previous government anticipated.

In an interview, Husic told @AuManufacturing: “I am conscious that my hands in many respects have been tied by the previous government.

“But I have tried to build a little bit of additional time for the growth centres’s by virtue of extending their ability to draw on funds assigned to them until 2024.

“And I am talking with individual growth centres – I am keen to explore ways that we put them to work on other areas of government work.”

Husic said the centres could possibly have a role in association with the National Reconstruction Fund, in the development of a national battery strategy or the development of an onshore battery manufacturing.

“There could be some areas where some growth centres can pitch in.

“It is actively being contemplated but I wouldn’t want to lead people on that a lot of thorough detailed work is being done.

“it is something that I am actively contemplating – it is a work in progress but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will revive dedicated funding for the IGCs.”

Husic said he he did recognise and respect the work that the growth centres had done, and the work of the previous government in their establishment.

“In coming into the portfolio I am not interested in stopping things that were driven by a different political colour.

“What works will continue and I am very keen to continue momentum. But also, where we can work further with the growth centres I am very keen and very open about that.”

Asked if the Albanese government was looking to evolve the model guiding the growth centres so they more closely resembled UK’s Catapult centres, he said: “I am open to that but I don’t want to suggest that we have got a massive game plan there, but it is something I am thinking about deeply, yes.”

The industry growth centres have been essentially grant funding and individual company sector development advocates, whereas the UK Catapult centres are more closely linked to public sector research, and operate their own facilities that can undertake work for manufacturers facing problems or wishing to innovate.

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Picture: Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

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