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Fresh funds for WARR

The office of the Minister for the Environment Susan Ley has told Inside Waste that, for the WAAR industry, the $1.5 billion funds for the manufacturing sector are additional to the $191 million Recycling Monetisation Fund (RMF) allocated in July.

Meanwhile, the The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), has responded by saying that the investment will set the path for domestic remanufacturing growth.

“WMRR has been engaging with government at all levels on how, as key material managers, our essential waste and resource recovery industry can play a crucial role in driving economic recovery post-pandemic and in the process, create new jobs and industries such as remanufacturing and industrial redesign while increasing its positive impact in protecting human health and the environment, including mitigating carbon emissions. This continued commitment to our industry will have multiple positive touch points for a long time to come,” WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan said.

“The Prime Minister hit the nail on the head when he said we need to keep making things in Australia and that manufacturing is a revitalised source of high-wage jobs and national income – this is aligned to everything WMRR has been calling for and we appreciate the government’s openness in engaging with us to-date. With $1.5 billion in new funding earmarked to drive projects, and a commitment to understanding and addressing Australia’s supply chain issues, we are securing our country’s economic future, bringing jobs and prosperity to the regions and building domestic resilience,” Sloan added.

“Over the last 18 months, the federal government has taught us a lesson in moving from ‘talk’ to ‘action’ and the actions have certainly been coming in thick and fast. Australia can be excited about our future – one that will unlock multiple opportunities and outcomes for businesses, communities, and the environment.”

Industries that sit within the government’s six (6) priority areas will soon be engaged to co-design tailored roadmaps for their sectors, setting goals over the next two (2), five (5), and 10 years, and identifying barriers and opportunities that will guide action and investment.

“As the peak body of the industry, we represent the breadth and depth of this essential sector; WMRR stands ready to collaborate and engage with the government as it develops these roadmaps. We look forward to working closely with industry and governments as we move towards a more sustainable future,”  Sloan added.

Key industries

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the money will be spent helping businesses develop scale and shore up supply chains. The six industries are:

  • Resources technology and critical minerals
  • Food and beverages
  • Medical products
  • Recycling and clean energy
  • Defence
  • Space

Australia way behind

The news comes on the back of research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, which indicates that Australia’s manufacturing capacity lags well behind other advanced economies. As a result, the $107 million will be dedicated to strengthening supply lines for essential goods.

Medicines and medical products will be prioritised for those funds with the goal of boosting Australia’s ability to provide critical supplies for itself during surges in demand.

Commencing in the first half of 2021, a separate $1.3 billion will be spent over the next four years, to help manufacturers upscale their businesses, with additional focus on turning concepts into finished products, and integrating into global supply chains. An additional $52 million will be spent on a second round of the Government’s manufacturing modernisation fund.

Lessons learnt

According to Industry Minister Karen Andrews, said the Government and industry had learned lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our manufacturers have risen to the challenge to deliver during COVID-19 and now, we’re unlocking their potential to deliver for our future,” she said.

“By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and boosting the role of science and technology in industry, we can open up new markets and take more of our quality products to the world.”

Andrews said science and technology would play a vital role in helping reduce costs and make domestic industry competitive with ones overseas.

“We have quite high input costs at the moment, with energy and also with our labour costs. If we’re going to make our businesses more productive and more efficient, we actually need to look at the part in the middle and that’s where science and technology will be used.”