Industry and Innovation: Department of Industry, Science and Resources 

INDUSTRY 

Policy driving the Department of Industry, Science and Resources and broader portfolios forms a key base platform for the Australian Government’s economic agenda and “road to recovery”. Its core agenda is to help the government “build a better future for all Australians through a productive, resilient and sustainable economy enriched by science and technology.” 

Its intent is to deliver this by: 

  • growing innovative and competitive businesses, industries and regions 
  • investing in science and technology 
  • strengthening the resources sector. (Department of Industry Corporate Plan). 

The policy and departments blueprint for the portfolio is “to revitalise Australian industry and make the most of new and emerging technologies. This will create productive, sustainable and high-value jobs in the economy of tomorrow. The portfolio supports businesses and industries by reducing barriers to productivity, designing appropriate regulatory frameworks and providing targeted investment and services.” 

Key elements of the Strategy include (Department of Industry Corporate Plan): 

Key activity 1.1: growing innovative and competitive businesses, industries and regions: 

  • Diversifying and transforming Australia’s industry to secure future prosperity through the National Reconstruction Fund, which will target investments in priority areas, including: 
    • renewables and low emissions technologies 
    • medical science 
    • transport 
    • value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors 
    • value-add in resources 
    • enabling capabilities. 
  • Delivering grants programs to: 
    • address barriers to scale and competitiveness for Australian manufacturers 
    • develop domestic manufacturing capabilities 
    • benefit regional communities 
    • upskill the sector’s workforce to ensure Australia can make things again. 
  • Implementing the Australian Made Battery Plan to guide governments and industry towards a shared vision of end-to-end battery manufacturing. 
  • Boosting critical supply chains and economic resilience by encouraging diversification of Australian industry and its imports, and promoting Australia as a reliable, responsible and sustainable partner. This includes bolstering capability to identify and address risk in critical supply chains. 
  • Enhancing regulatory settings for businesses and the community through harmonised national frameworks that promote ethical and sustainable market growth, the responsible use of technology and encourage business collaboration, innovation and investment. For example, implementing country of origin labelling for the seafood industry will enable consumers to make informed decisions on their purchases. 
  • Implementing the Buy Australian Plan to improve the way Australian Government contracts work, ensuring more procurement opportunities are available to Australian businesses and their employees. 
  • Maximising the benefits of sovereign space technologies and data, including using them to address challenges such as natural disasters and climate change. This includes supporting the creation and adoption of critical technologies and maintaining a responsible regulatory framework for space sector activities. 
  • Boosting collaboration, commercialisation and use of Australian research and development by: 
    • enhancing our dialogues and partnerships in science and technology, both in Australia and internationally 
    • providing medium to long-term funding for industry-led research collaborations through the Cooperative Research Centre Program 
    • helping businesses transform through the Entrepreneurs’ Programme 
    • co-administering the Research and Development Tax Incentive. 

Key activity 1.2: investing in science and technology: 

  • Building a stronger science sector to help solve challenges, improve productivity and wellbeing, and boost the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pipeline. 
  • Investing in Australia’s technology capabilities such as quantum, robotics and artificial intelligence to boost our economy and create high-value jobs that will help retain talent in Australia. 
  • Ensuring Australia has the advanced measurement science it needs to accelerate our economy and support global trade, by developing and harnessing the expertise of the National Measurement Institute. 
  • Securing long-term science and technology capabilities by investing in Questacon’s grassroots science engagement activities and ensuring they reach diverse communities, including those in remote and regional Australia. 
  • Supporting Australia’s digital capability through targeted initiatives to accelerate the adoption of technologies and foster transformation across the economy. 

Key activity 1.3: supporting a strong resources sector: 

  • Growing national prosperity through a strong and resilient resources sector that continues to create sustainable and high-value jobs, including in regional and remote communities and maintains Australia’s reputation as a stable and reliable energy supplier to overseas markets. 
  • Supporting the sector to contribute to the global transition to net zero through emissions reduction, and capitalising on opportunities presented in a low-emissions economy. 
  • Accelerating the growth of Australia’s critical minerals sector to support new clean-energy technologies in Australia and overseas, including delivery of the Critical Minerals Strategy. 
  • Addressing community expectations on environment, social and governance credentials. This includes strengthening First Nations engagement, and examining options to improve gender equality, skills and safety in the resources sector.  
  • Encouraging proactive planning for decommissioning offshore oil and gas projects and overseeing decommissioning of the Laminaria–Corallina oil fields and Northern Endeavour facility. 
  • Implementing reforms to secure and ensure oversight of our domestic gas supply, including reforming the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism. 
  • Progressing a responsible and sustainable framework to manage and dispose of radioactive waste.

NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION FUND (NRF)  

Delivering on the strong drive towards a new and innovative future, the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) is a major policy initiative of the Australian Federal Government. 

Aimed at driving economic recovery and growth following COVID-19 and the shifting economic challenges of recent years (NRF Strategy), the NRF is seen as a kick starter into a new smarter future, with $15 billion committed for the establishment of the NRF. 

The NRF’s main priority areas are focused on strategic investments in critical sectors and projects that would have a transformative impact on the Australian economy. The fund seeks support initiatives that promote innovation, job creation, and long-term economic sustainability. 

The NRF will provide finance for projects that diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy. By establishing the NRF the government is helping to secure Australia’s future prosperity and driving sustainable economic growth.  

A strong and diverse economy underpins the government’s commitment to creating more sustainable, high-value jobs for all Australians.  

The NRF will provide finance to projects in priority areas to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths.  

The NRF will provide a range of finance options including: 

  • loans
  • equity investment 
  • guarantees. 

This will ultimately help Australian industry move up the value chain to:  

  • become more productive 
  • take advantage of opportunities in a net zero economy 
  • address supply chain vulnerabilities. 
  • value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors 
  • value-add in resources 
  • defence capability 
  • enabling capabilities. 

The NRF Key Focus Areas:  

The NRF will diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy through targeted investments in the following priority areas:  

  • renewables and low emissions technologies 
  • medical science 
  • transport 
  • value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors 
  • value-add in resources 
  • defence capability 
  • enabling capabilities. 

The NRF will finance projects that align with the 7 priority areas to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths. 

The government has identified $8 billion of the NRF’s $15 billion for the following areas: 

  • up to $3 billion for renewables and low emissions technologies 
  • $1.5 billion for medical manufacturing 
  • $1 billion for value-adding in resources 
  • $1 billion for critical technologies 
  • $1 billion for advanced manufacturing 
  • $500 million for value-adding in: 
  • agriculture 
  • forestry 
  • fisheries 
  • food 
  • fibre. 

Investment will be carried out through a co-invest model. The government will work with industry to develop co-investment plans that identify high-level investment opportunities and broader reforms to support growth across priority areas. 

INNOVATION-  

The Australian Federal Government’s innovation platform resides heavily with the NRF focussed objectives of defence, medical science and renewables. Innovation within these key areas remain the priority for the government with these areas being viewed as being able to move the dial on the industrial and manufacturing sectors.