The appointment of Greg Hunt as Industry, Innovation and Science Minister this week was a welcome reflection of the government’s vigorous and essential commitment to industry – and a healthy signal that innovation policy remains right at the top of the economic agenda, the AAMC says.
The flavour of the Prime Minister’s new ministry places advanced manufacturing and high value global supply chains squarely in the spotlight.
Following the first election in living memory that was run on the importance of advanced manufacturing to Australia’s economic future, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reshuffled his ministry on July 18, expanding cabinet to 23 members and appointing Greg Hunt to industry, with Christopher Pyne moving to the newly created Defence Industry portfolio.
Mr Pyne’s appointment gives defence industry the emphasis it needs. He will have responsibility for improving Australian advanced manufacturing capabilities, and positioning the nation’s small and medium-sized companies within lucrative global supply chains.
Mr Hunt, who has spent nearly a decade in the environment portfolio and has experience across portfolios and in the private sector, now has responsibility for industry, innovation and science. His depth of knowledge and sophisticated understanding of policy should particularly encourage manufacturers who are making investments in sustainable outcomes.
As Environment Minister, he delivered the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a billion dollar renewable energy program with a strong focus on innovation.
Mr Pyne will be overseeing an estimated $90 billion of naval defence projects.
Mr Turnbull says this new role will ensure that the billions being invested in naval shipbuilding is fully leveraged to build long term Australian industry capability.
“We will be rolling out our historic defence industry investment, building new jobs and opportunities in the advanced manufacturing sector right across the national supply chain, for businesses big and small,” the Prime Minister said.
“This will be transformative for our economy … It will drive the jobs and the growth in advanced manufacturing.”
Mr Pyne promised to work hard to ensure procurement dollars are spent in Australia.
“Our defence industry has the capacity to be an economic and innovation driver as we shift from the post mining construction boom period into a new age of innovation.
“As minister I will be focused on ensuring we grasp this once in a generation opportunity and ensure our plans for job creation and economic growth are realised,” Mr Pyne said.
Other moves in the reshuffle include the Nationals’ Matt Canavan claiming resources, the Nationals’ Michael McCormack getting small business, and Josh Frydenberg gaining the super portfolio of energy and environment. Angus Taylor retains his role as minister assisting on Digital Transformation and Cities within the Prime Minister’s portfolio.
– Jennifer Conley and Miranda Maxwell, 21 July 2016.