MMI grants pass review, were politicised – Husic


The industry minister Ed Husic has announced that the government’s examination of Modern Manufacturing Initiative grants has concluded and that announced grants will now be actioned.

Husic said that the review showed the 68 grants were all supported by an independent Assessment Committee and the processes adhered to the publicly available Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

He has now asked the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to work with the successful companies awarded grants under the MMI program to begin the contracting process.

An examination of the separate Supply Chain Resilience Initiative has also concluded and DISR will begin the contracting process with all 18 successful applicants.

The examination of MMI grants showed that the grants were announced immediately before and during the election campaign.

From 1 March to 17 May 2022, 68 grants were announced under the MMI program, from a total of 502 eligible applications to the program.

The former government failed to inform 400 applicants they were unsuccessful under the Translation, Integration and Collaboration streams; only 34 were notified.

Husic said: “Despite the brazen attempt of the former Morrison government to politicise this grant process by delaying announcements until the election period and failing to inform unsuccessful applicants, the government is now satisfied the companies have been awarded MMI funding according to the applicable grant process.

“Despite many other grant programs rorted by the former Liberal and National government it is clear that Labor’s focus on this MMI program forced the Coalition to adhere closer to a proper process.

“…Unlike some programs under the former Liberal and National Government, the MMI grants were independently assessed.

Husic said that it was entirely appropriate to conduct the review ‘given the former government’s track record on grants’.

“However, it remains the case that under the Collaboration Stream, former Prime Minister Morrison made himself the final decision maker in defiance of usual practice.

“Rather than announcing these grants in a timely way at the height of the pandemic when manufacturing was desperate for support, the Morrison government waited to the last possible moment close to an election.

“It is completely unfair the Coalition government left so many companies wondering if they had been successful for months.

“They were more than happy to use announcements during the election campaign but didn’t have the guts to be honest with those that missed out.”

Husic said that the MMI program had delivered funding to outstanding companies and deserving projects.

As part of reviewing the MMI program, the following were considered:

  • Existence and appropriateness of grant rules
  • Whether the grant rules were followed
  • Whether the advice of the independent panels was followed
  • And whether the program as a whole delivered value for taxpayers.

Picture: Ed Husic

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