According to the Federal Government’s ‘Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda’ released this month, there are 5 key industries in which Australia has a competitive advantage. Among them are food, pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing.
At the core of the agenda are “Industry Growth Centres”. These centres will increase Australia’s competitiveness and productivity in the 5 industries by focusing on areas of competitive strength. And this, in turn, will help the nation transition into smart, high-value and export-focused industries.
The not-for-profit industry growth centres, which will be rolled out from early 2015, aim to:
- get more businesses to identify and participate in global supply chains and markets
- build the export-ready capabilities of companies in the 5 sectors
- increase the commercialisation of new ideas
- improve collaboration between businesses, scientists and researchers, so new processes can be adopted and new products developed
- identify ways to remove “stifling regulation” (that’s what the federal document says!), which is a burden on Australian businesses
- implement skills strategies to make the nation’s workforce ready for the future
In the first 4 years, the government will tip in $188.5 million.
Here’s a list of the 5 growth areas, what the types of things each of the industry growth centres could do:
1. Food & Agribusiness Centre: help food manufacturers to work with packaging companies and researchers on packaging solutions to extend product shelf-life, especially into regional export markets where lack of refrigeration is a problem.
2. Medical Technologies & Pharmaceuticals Centre: help businesses to identify opportunities by linking with medical-device and materials researchers to develop new biomedical devices and platform technologies, which will improve health outcomes and business profitability.
3. Advanced Manufacturing Centre: bring together researchers and small chemical manufacturers so they can adopt new chemical-flow and carbon-fibre technology, which will allow them to develop new, low-cost chemical products which are competitive with those produced overseas.
4. Mining Equipment, Technology & Services (METS) Centre: identify global market opportunities for exporting product and services; to create METS consortiums; and access to information on global supply chains.
5. Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Centre: help businesses to lower costs through greater collaboration, better sharing of infrastructure and logistics support (especially on remote projects), greater development and uptake of new technology and innovation, and improved planning across all areas of the resources value chain.
Want to get involved?
The plan will be fine-tuned in the next few months with business leaders, industry associations, peak bodies and academics via a series of roundtables and consultation sessions.
To register your interest, or for updates on the Growth Centre Initiative, head here.
We think this innovation drive — particularly for small to medium-sized businesses — will be great foundation stones for Australian industries’ future growth. Regulatory reform will also help to slice the high costs of doing business in Australia. Both of these will be a boon for competitiveness. What are your thoughts? Will the initiative and the industry growth centres be helpful to Australian businesses?
See here for another way in which Australian businesses can leverage a competitive advantage. And then see here for steps to help small business get ready for Asian export growth.