More than 65 new manufacturing jobs will be created in Melbourne’s north by the first project to be funded under a new investment and innovation program targeting the region.
Earlier this week Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane and Victorian Minister for Manufacturing David Hodgett announced the first grant of $1 million under the joint Commonwealth/State Melbourne North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF).
Epping business New Age Caravans will receive the grant to undertake a $3.7 million project to establish an advanced robotic manufacturing centre.
The new centre is aimed at improving the productivity and quality of its caravan and mining accommodation unit manufacturing activities to meet rising demand.
It is the first of many projects to be funded under MNIIF, a tripartite agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the Victorian Government and Ford Australia.
“This project is a great example of an innovative company in a growing market that is driving real improvements in productivity for the business, said Mr Macfarlane.
And the jobs that will be created by the new project would be suitable for ex-Ford and automotive supply chain workers, with only minimal retraining required.
“Australian manufacturing is repositioning to take advantage of new markets and new jobs. Using the existing skills base and knowledge of local workers is a priority in this process as we move into a new era for Australian industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Mr Hodgett said that this was the first of a number of projects that would help grow manufacturing jobs in the region.
“This investment in the company's new facility is the first project to be supported by the Melbourne North Innovation and Investment Fund, which will assist local businesses as they seek new opportunities and build on the state’s strengths, he said.
“Melbourne’s north is a hub of engineering, aerospace and defence, electronics and print packaging industries, which are thriving in a global market.”
The Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) and the Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) are competitive, merit-based grant programs. The funds are based on a tripartite agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the Victorian Government and Ford Australia.
The federal government will contribute $30 million, the Victorian Government $9 million and Ford Australia $10 million.
Of the total $49 million in funding, $24.5 million will be made available to the GRIIF and $24.5 million will be made available to the MNIIF.
The funds were set up to help Ford manufacturing employees who will lose their jobs following the closure of the local manufacturing facility in 2016.
Ford contributed $10 million to the fund and plans to further help employees identify new opportunities at a jobs fair at its Broadmeadows facility in April.