The Food and Beverage stream of the Federal Government’s game-changing investment to super-charge manufacturing and grow jobs is now open to Goulburn Valley businesses, with applications sought under the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

Speaking at the iconic SPC Ardmona factory in Shepparton this morning alongside chief executive Robert Giles, Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, encouraged local businesses to apply for the grants which are designed to help them scale up and create new jobs.

“There is significant opportunity to grow our food and beverage manufacturing base by leveraging government investments, our highly skilled workforce, reputation for high-quality products and world leading science, research and innovation,” Mr Drum said.

“This is particularly true in the Goulburn Valley, which is home to a range of industry-leading businesses, resulting in the region regularly being referred to as the ‘fruit bowl of Australia’.

“By helping these businesses become more competitive, we will not only create more direct jobs, but jobs in businesses right along the supply chain – from our farmers to our truckies.”

The Federal Government will cover up to 50 per cent of project costs, with grants ranging from $1 million to $20 million.

Overseen by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, the funding will unlock investment to further grow what is the biggest manufacturing sector in Australia.

Mr Drum said Goulburn Valley produce was already sought-after globally, but there were opportunities to further build on its international reputation for producing premium, safe and high-quality products.

“Investing in our food and beverage manufacturers will ensure they remain on the front foot and maximise every opportunity to tap into global markets and create jobs here at home,” Mr Drum said.

“To strengthen our economy, we need to make the most of our natural advantages in agriculture, and that means adding as much value as we can to raw materials through manufacturing.

“The other great thing about food and beverage manufacturing is its imprint on regional Australia, both in where many factories are located and the support for businesses along the supply chain.”

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, said this support for food and beverage manufacturers would have significant flow-on effects for Australian farmers and agriculture producers.

“This funding will open up further opportunities for the development of new products and the expansion of existing product lines beyond the farm gate,” Mr Littleproud said.

SPC Ardmona chief executive Robert Giles said he was delighted to see the MMI support local communities like those in the Goulburn Valley.

“The Federal Government’s commitment will ensure Australian manufacturing will become an enticing investment for the private sector to help turn companies like SPC into global businesses,” Mr Giles said.

“We need big ideas like this if we want to see real change in our country.”

Applications will initially focus on the Translation and Integration funding streams of the MMI, with expressions of interest for the larger Collaboration stream to open in coming months.

The first two streams are designed to: (i) help businesses translate their ideas into commercial outcomes; and (ii) support projects that integrate Australian businesses into global supply chains.

Food and Beverage is one of six national manufacturing priorities to be supported under the MMI to help manufacturers scale-up production, commercialise their products and operations, and integrate into domestic and global supply chains.

An industry-led road map was recently released, setting out a decade-long vision for the food and beverage manufacturing sector.

Opportunities include smart processing and packaging methods, products for health and wellbeing and enhanced nutritional value, high value-add products such as those containing new and enhanced proteins, products with strong food safety, origin and traceability systems, and the adoption of solutions to increase differentiation of food and beverage products in domestic and overseas markets.

In addition to Food and Beverage, applications have already opened for Space, Medical Products, Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing, Defence, and Recycling and Clean Energy.

More information on the Food and Beverage National Manufacturing Priority road map is available here. Applications close April 27.


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