Manufacturers back $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has thrown its support behind the Federal Government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).

Ed Husic, Federal Minister for Industry and Science, said the NRF will help drive economic development in Australia’s regions and outer suburbs, boosting our sovereignty capability, diversify the nations’ economy, and help create secure jobs.

“The National Reconstruction Fund is one of the largest peacetime investments in our country’s manufacturing capability in living memory.

“The $15 billion fund will be governed by an independent Board, built on the model that Labor previously championed with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

“It will be empowered to invest through a combination of loans, guarantees and equity, including with institutional investors, private equity and venture capital.”

Tanya Barden, CEO of the AFGC, said food and grocery manufacturing is the nation’s largest manufacturing sector and has the potential to almost double in value by 2030 with the right policy support.

“The vision driving the NRF is the same as the vision for the local food and grocery manufacturing industry – to support investment and innovation to create high-tech, high-value businesses that make high quality goods for Australia and the world.”

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing industry is currently worth almost $134 billion, and with 40 per cent of the people working in the industry in regional areas, Barden said the industry is not just a driver of the national economy but also the lifeblood of so many regional and rural centres.

“This fund recognises the critical importance of domestic industry and sovereign manufacturing capacity to Australia.

“Food and grocery manufacturing can play a key role in our economic growth as a high-tech, high-value-add sector that capitalises on our quality produce and technical abilities.”

The Government will consult with industry, unions, and stakeholders across the country to ensure the NRF is appropriately designed and targeted to maximise the benefits of this $15 billion investment.

“We want to be a country that makes more onshore – and that means backing the businesses that are making things here and supporting manufacturing in regional Australia,” said Husic.

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