National Reconstruction Fund bill passes lower house

The federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Corporation Bill today passed the House of Representatives with amendments and despite opposition from the federal opposition and will now go to the Senate.

The Greens secured an amendment restraining the NRF from funding projects related to fossil fuel extraction, while the Member for Goldstein Zoe Daniel secured changes supporting projects with participation by under-represented groups.

In another breakthrough for the government the Greens also indicated that they will now support NRF in Senate subject to consideration of further government amendments.

The NRF will invest $15 billion alongside industry investment across priority areas of the economy including renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value-adding in resources, value-adding in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, defence capability and enabling technologies.

The body which will be administered at arm’s length to government by an independent board making independent investment decisions will also help address the inflation challenge in the economy by reducing our dependence on broken supply chains, according to Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic.

Husic said: “After a decade of neglect from the former Liberal-National government, the Albanese government is revitalising Australian manufacturing.

“By voting against the National Reconstruction Fund, the Liberal and National parties have once again shown they are not on the side of Australian manufacturers and only care about manufacturing when it comes to a photo opportunity.

“We are now one step closer to delivering one of the largest peacetime investments in manufacturing this country has ever seen.

“The National Reconstruction Fund is a nation-building, transformational investment to help deliver a better future.”

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said: “The Albanese Labor government wants to see more things made here in Australia which also means more jobs for Australians and that’s what the National Reconstruction Fund will deliver.

“Right now we have a unique opportunity to diversify and transform our economy and we don’t want to miss it.”

Managing Director, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Dr Jens Goennemann welcomed the passage of the bill.

Dr Goennemann said: “Manufacturing is the single most promising capability Australia has to transition from being a lucky country to a smart one.

“The passing of the National Reconstruction Bill through the House of Representatives is the first positive step to ensuring that we can invest in our onshore manufacturing capabilities to generate highly skilled, resilient local jobs that deliver complex items into local and, critically, global supply chains.

“Through the National Reconstruction Fund, Australia has a significant opportunity to leverage its human capital and natural resources through manufacturing to grow its global importance and value beyond being the globe’s quarry, farm and hotel, increasing the complexity of our economy in the process.”

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Picture: Katy Gallagher

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