Local industry experts discuss National Reconstruction Fund

June 4, 2023 BY

Attendees at the roundtable, held at Deakin University's Waurn Ponds campus. Photos: SUPPLIED

MANUFACTURING and industry leaders from across the Geelong region gathered in Waurn Ponds last week for a roundtable on the federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).

Convened by Minister for Innovation and Science Ed Husic and Corangamite federal member Libby Coker, the roundtable was held at the Institute of Frontier Materials at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.

It included representatives from Austeng, Air Radiators, BAE Systems Australia, Carbon Nexus, Carbon Revolution, Cobram Estate Olives, G21, Universal Motion Simulation (UMS) and Quickstep.

Originally pledged by Labor in 2021 as an election commitment, the $15 billion NRF was officially established in March of this year.

The NRF will provide finance – including loans, equity investment and guarantees – to projects in seven priority areas to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths.

They are:

  • Renewables and low emissions technologies
  • Medical science
  • Transport
  • Value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors
  • Value-add in resources
  • Defence capability, and
  • Enabling capabilities.

Ms Coker said the roundtable provided an opportunity for local industry leaders to showcase their visions and explore opportunities through the NRF.

“Our region is home to so many innovative and ambitious people, and through the NRF, we want to see their capabilities and ambitions grow.

“Industry and manufacturing industries have played such an important role throughout the history of our region, providing employment, and putting us on the map.

“These new industries will continue that proud tradition.”

During his visit to Geelong, Mr Husic also toured a potential future site for Recharge Industries – which plans to open a “gigafactory” by 2026 that willl eventally produce up to 30GWh of lithium-ion batteries – and the Flaim and UMS facilities at Deakin University Waurn Ponds.

“The most successful modern economies are built on strong, advanced manufacturing capability. The NRF will help deliver this for Australia,” Mr Husic said.

“We want the Geelong region, and the nation more broadly, to be a country that makes things, that has faith in its know-how and has the ability to get the job done.”

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