Australian Manufacturing and the Future Made in Australia Act

For the past few years, Australian manufacturing has been in the news. While a spotlight on silicosis and defense has been dominant, attention is rapidly shifting to a new kind of policy – the Future Made in Australia Act (FMAA).

“The Future Made in Australia Act will establish and impose very strict policy frameworks and institutional arrangements to ensure our priorities are rigorously determined and robustly implemented, focused on where we have genuine economic advantages and compelling national security imperatives,” wrote the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer, in an opinion piece on the Treasury government site.

This legislation, created with a view to increase national economic, industrial, and labour potential, is set to affect various sectors. Reminiscent of America’s Inflation Reduction Act, Albanese’s government puts an emphasis on renewables, creating jobs, and leveraging the country’s strengths to take advantage of tectonic shifts on the global stage.

“We believe in a future made here in Australia. We believe in greater diversity in what we can make. We believe that we need to train and upskill Australians to make high-value, complex manufacturing all the way through,” says Anthony Albanese, current Prime Minister.

What could that mean for you? Read on for our insights and analysis.

What can Australian manufacturing companies expect from the Future Made Act?

During an interview on ABC’s 7:30, Albanese said:

“That market will determine which of these industries get the support, get the drive. But if you don’t have that support in the initial period from the Government, then you won’t be able to attract the investment. So in part, why we’re doing this legislation is to send a signal to the market to provide that certainly, and that we’re a government that’s prepared to back Australian industry, to back Australian jobs and back making things here.”

However, National Secretary Steven Murphy disagrees with this strategy. He says:

“We need to burst this bubble when it comes to leaving everything to the market. We’ve seen time and time again how it leads to economic failure, which often leads to disastrous consequences for all of us. Government has a bigger role to play in all of this.”

So far, the FMAA has clearly indicated that its main role is to boost investment in critical minerals and renewable energy, as well as increase jobs in selected industries – one of which is the Advanced Manufacturing space.

“This Budget commits $288.1million to support Australia’s Digital ID System. A National Robotics Strategy will also be released to promote the responsible production and adoption of robotics and automation technologies for advanced manufacturing in Australia,” the Budget’s site states.

At present, manufacturing accounts for around 6% of GDP, and 6.8% employment. Would this new Act have the power to bring on a fresh wave of industrial growth?

Where will funding go?

Like America’s Inflation Reduction Act, much of the FMAA is geared towards transitioning to a net zero economy. Solar energy, batteries, and electric cars have all been mentioned throughout the Budget, with a strong media lobby to back them. Advanced manufacturing, our specialty, has been mentioned also – though details are yet to be revealed.

As all good journalists know, the best way to uncover what’s going on is to follow the money. The legislation pledges an investment of $22.7 billion over the next decade. Of those $22.7 billion, $1.7 billion is projected to go into the Future Made Innovation Fund, along with renewing funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Budget also supports the claim to upskill and train workers – something that has seriously been lacking. $134.4 million is allocated to upskilling and training employees in key regions – also yet to be disclosed. The question is, what kind of training and upskilling will be provided?

That remains to be seen. The Stimulus Packages and Grants provided during COVID years helped many to upgrade their equipment and employ a strong team to work on them. As Josie Maher, General Manager of Edencraft knows well, Government grants can be life-changing. However, navigating the red tape isn’t easy. That’s why it’s a good idea to have experts on hand to help. We shared our expertise both online (check out our blog on grants) and directly with customers.

“They really helped us understand the Government grant process. We had to jump through a few hoops before we could get the grant. Innovync didn’t get frustrated and supported us through it. Innovync built a good foundation.”

Now, Edencraft is the proud owner of a CMS Poseidon. Thanks to the Government grant, they have significantly grown their business, expanding into new territory. Just imagine what could happen if you qualified for a new grant, designed to promote Australian-made production…

We’ll leave you to mull over the possibilities. Be sure to keep an eye out for more distilled insights as they come in!