The ASI has welcomed the Federal Opposition’s plan to establish a $1 billion Australian Manufacturing Future Fund to support innovative Australian firms, should his Party become Government.

ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said that the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Finance Corporation (AMFC) to administer the new Fund was a clear signal that the appreciation of this sector for Australia’s continued prosperity was still important to policymakers.

“The focus of the initiative for promoting Australian investment in advanced manufacturing for those businesses which might find it difficult to obtain private sources will be a particular boon for our steel fabrication and processing community, many of which are SME businesses,” he said.

“The new Fund would come at an opportune time as more and more of these businesses are looking to invest in advanced new automated and precise plant and equipment.

“This in turn will further sharpen the local sector’s capability to streamline development projects, besides the more immediate benefits of growing jobs and enhancing Australia’s skills base.”

He said steel fabrication has changed considerably over the past few years with new innovations such as 3D scanning and Building Information Modelling.

The ASI also welcomes the commitment for the AMFC to partner with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), on which the new funding arrangement is similarly modelled.

“The ASI has worked well in the past with the CEFC and welcomed their support on local jobs,” Dixon said.

“We would also hope that the new initiative would also be able to spur other advanced manufacturing capability aligned with the needs of the growing activity developing the wider array of new public infrastructure.

“We look forward to seeing more detail on this initiative and how it will benefit the local steel industry.”