The Gillard Government will bring forward $160 million in Clean Technology Investment Program funding to 2014-15 to increase manufacturing investment and boost productivity and competitiveness.
This decision will drive around half a billion dollars of manufacturing capital investment in Australia.
"This is a great stimulus for manufacturing, which is facing difficult circumstances with the high Australian dollar and intense global competition," Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said.
"We understand the pressures business is facing, and this decision complements the $1 billion Jobs Plan the Prime Minister and I released earlier this year to support Australian jobs."
The Clean Technology Investment Program provides funding for both general manufacturers and those in the food and foundries sectors. To date, the Gillard Government has supported 222 projects with more than $121 million in grants.
With private sector co-investment, these projects represent an investment of more than $338 million in new energy efficient capital equipment and more efficient manufacturing processes.
"The Gillard Government is committed to a strong Australian manufacturing industry, and investing in clean technology is a great way to drive improvements in productivity, energy efficiency and competitiveness," Mr Combet said.
"These projects are good for business and good for the environment."
Projects announced so far will deliver energy and productivity savings of more than $30 million per year, and almost 25 per cent of these projects are achieving reductions in emissions intensity of more than 50 per cent.
"Through this fund, Australian manufacturers can invest in energy efficient capital equipment and low emissions technology on any scale to make a real difference to their energy consumption and save on their energy bills," Mr Combet said.
Growing demand for funding under the $800 million Clean Technology Investment Program and the $200 million Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program has come from all sectors and includes strong involvement from regional manufacturers, particularly in the food and foundries funding stream.
The payment profile for projects in the pipeline means that program demand is expected to peak in 2014-15.
"These programs have been so popular that we have adjusted the funding profile in this Budget to match the expected demand with no change to the total funding of $1 billion - $58 million in already committed funding has been re-profiled from 2012‑13 to 2017‑18 to reflect arrangements for paying grant monies in arrears as projects meet their milestones and report back on project outcomes," Mr Combet said.
The Opposition has pledged to scrap these important industry support programs, which would make the move to a clean and more competitive economy harder for Australian manufacturers.
We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.
The Gillard Government is doing this to keep our economy one of the most resilient in the world - we have low unemployment, solid growth, contained inflation and low interest rates.Both programs are continuously open for applications.
For more information, companies should contact AusIndustry on 13 28 46 or visit the website - www.ausindustry.gov.au.
Media contacts: Minister Combet's office 02 6277 7920