Network launches to boost Australian manufacturing

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Victorian Minister for Industry, and Minster for Energy and Resources the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP today launched a major new initiative to boost innovation in the Australian chemistry industry.

The Chemicals and Plastics Manufacturing Innovation Network and Training Program is led by Monash University and the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) and underpinned by support from the Victorian Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. This cofounding partnership between industry, the State Government and academia has an initial investment of $5.9M.

Lily D’Ambrosio welcomed the initiative that sees the best minds in academic research joining forces with government and industry.

“The Australian chemistry industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in Australia and this exciting new initiative will act as a catalyst for new opportunities in global investment, innovation, productivity, job creation and economic growth,” Lily D’Ambrosio said.

The initiative brings together multinationals, SMEs, PACIA and research organisations to create global market opportunities, increase collaboration, enhance manufacturing, and deliver a new generation of industry professionals.

Joseph Lawrence, Director of Industry Partnerships at Monash University, said that students would gain from the joint influence of academia and industry.

“The program also gives industry a role in fostering the next generation of chemical scientists and engineers, and the opportunity to strengthen relationships with Monash and its extensive research capabilities,” he said.

“Many of the participating companies intend to build a deeper partnership with the University. For example, stemming through their participation in this program, PerkinElmer has setup the PerkinElmer Flagship Facility at Monash in the new Green Chemical Futures building, whilst Axieo has established the Axieo Centre for Innovation at Monash.

“To sum it up, we see this network as a foundation for driving the innovation edge for Australia in the chemicals space, leveraging our national strengths in education and research. It is all about having global impact where it counts and together, we are future proofing the trajectory for growth,” Mr Lawrence said.

PACIA CEO Samantha Read said the Australian chemistry industry provides products and services that feed in to 109 of 111 industry sectors, creating a multiplier effect in jobs and investment through Australian value chains.

“Collaborative innovation in science and industry is key to driving manufacturing growth, improving products and processes and contributing to sustainable economic growth into the future,” Ms Read said.

The partnership already has more than 20 industry participants including: BASF, Procter & Gamble, 3M, Axieo, Nufarm, Dulux Group, PPG Industries, Agilent Technologies, AquaHydrex, PerkinElmer, PPG, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australasian Industrial Research Group (AIRG), EPA Victoria, the national industry association for the Australasian hygiene, cosmetic and specialty products industry (ACCORD), SEMMA (South East Melbourne Manufacturing Alliance), SEMIP (South East Melbourne Innovation Precinct), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), STC (Small Technologies Cluster) and KPMG. 

The initiative is expected to deliver outcomes to hundreds of other businesses associated with the collaboration.