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Budget positive for METS sector


METS Ignited has welcomed the announcement of a range of initiatives that will benefit Australia’s $86 billion mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, including the extension of funding to the Industry Growth Centres.

METS Ignited CEO Ric Gros said the two-year funding extension enabled METS Ignited to continue to build on its success.

“The Industry Growth Centre initiative is a cornerstone of the Australian Government’s innovation policy,” Mr Gros said.

“The Australian METS sector is world-class. Our role has been to work closely with industry to commercialise the wealth of innovation in the sector and to assist in growing exports.

“METS Ignited looks forward to progressing with our range of exciting industry initiatives, including the third round of the METS Ignited Collaboration Project Funds which opened this week.”

Mr Gros said the announcement of a $20m export hub initiative would help Australian METS businesses to grow, export and increase local and regional jobs.

The Export Hubs Initiative will provide matched funding of up to $1.5 million per annum for up to four years from 2018/19 to 2021/22, and will open for applications in 2018-19.

The Export Hubs Initiative will complement and build upon the existing clustering activities as well as other regional development initiatives.

The hubs will be expected to develop export strategies, based on local strengths, which will align with national strategies, as outlined in the Growth Centres’ Sector Competitiveness Plans.

Initiatives that will impact the METS sector:

  • $29.9 million to build Australia’s Artificial Intelligence capability to support businesses and workers, including funding for CRC projects with a focus on AI, and a national framework to address standards and ethics for the use of this technology.
  • $20 million to support Australian innovation in Asia. This will help capture opportunities for Australian business, entrepreneurs and researchers in Asia, a region that stands to deliver nearly two-thirds of global growth to 2030 and continues the successful Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
  • $4.5 million to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. This will comprise the Women in Science Strategy and the development of the Decadal Plan for Women in Science, and includes the previously announced Women in Science Ambassador.
  • Over $260 million for Geoscience Australia to develop world-leading satellite infrastructure and technologies.
  • $160.9 million for Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) will deliver satellite positioning data across all of Australia and its maritime territories with an accuracy of 10cm.Its complete coverage will have enormous benefits for rural and regional Australia and sectors such as mining and agriculture
  • $64 million for National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC) will establish a national ground station network to deliver positioning data with 3-5cm accuracy within areas of mobile phone coverage across Australia
  • $36.9 million for Digital Earth Australia to make a vast wealth of satellite data available to businesses, researchers and the community.