The Australian Government’s $155 million Growth Fund will drive the development of new industries in high growth sectors in South Australia.

In Adelaide Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the Government’s review of the South Australian economy found that it remained strong and was in a good position to weather the closure of car manufacturing in South Australia.

The Growth Fund has been established by the Australian Government with support from the South Australian and Victorian Governments and contributions from GM Holden and Toyota.

Mr Macfarlane welcomed the agreement from the South Australian Government to contribute $12 million to the Fund.

“The Growth Fund is a key plank in the Australian Government’s long-term strategy to pivot Australia towards the industries of the future, and to maximise the opportunities for the people and regions most affected by the end of local car manufacturing,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“While Australian manufacturing is undergoing a significant transformation, these changes present opportunities as well as challenges.

“The economic review set up after the announcement of GM Holden’s planned closure in 2017 identified significant growth opportunities in South Australia in sectors with comparative advantages, like food, wine and agriculture; advanced manufacturing, including the defence sector; health and biomedical products; oil and gas; mining equipment and technology; and service-related sectors,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Growth Fund will help businesses in South Australia take up these opportunities.

“We will continue to work with both the South Australian and Victorian Governments to ensure affected workers have access to the right skills to move into new jobs, and to ensure the best investments are made in the industries of the future.                               

“In addition, the Australian Government’s National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda will focus on initiatives to promote national competitiveness and productivity,” Mr Macfarlane said.

The Growth Fund includes:

• a $30 million Skills and Training Programme to assist automotive employees to have their skills recognised and provide training for new jobs, while they are still employed;

• a $15 million boost to the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Programme to provide careers advice and assist automotive employees to secure new jobs;

• a $20 million Automotive Diversification Programme to assist automotive supply chain firms capable of diversifying to enter new markets;

• a $60 million Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme to accelerate private sector investment in high value non-automotive manufacturing sectors in South Australia and Victoria; and
• a $30 million Regional Infrastructure Programme to support investment in non- manufacturing opportunities in affected regions.

“Developing our nation’s infrastructure is critical to Australia’s economic growth because it opens up job opportunities, access to markets and improves the efficiency and safety of our transport networks,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“As a part of this the Government is committed to funding key road, rail and intermodal infrastructure projects that will enhance productivity for the 21st century, including support for the upgrading of Adelaide’s North-South Road Corridor.”

Mr Macfarlane said the Growth Fund was part of a long term national plan for change and growth, which included reviews of the South Australian and Victorian economies along with mechanisms to assist businesses affected by GM Holden’s impending closure and helping employees move from one good job to a better job. 

The completed reviews of the South Australian and Victorian economies are available on the Department of Industry website.