29/01/2021 - 13:54

Liberals unveil $50m manufacturing fund

29/01/2021 - 13:54

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The Liberal Party would establish a $50 million fund to support those manufacturing products of critical importance, if elected.

Liberals unveil $50m manufacturing fund
Zak Kirkup saya a Liberal government will work to make WA more self-reliant. Photo: Jesinta Burton

The Liberal Party would establish a $50 million fund to support those manufacturing items of critical importance and safeguard the state’s supply chain in the event of major global disruptions, if elected.

The Critical and Strategic Manufacturing Fund, designed to make Western Australia more self-reliant, would provide grants of between $100,000 to $1 million to develop and expand the manufacturing of items of critical importance to the state and deliver new jobs in the industry.

During a press conference to unveil the plan earlier today, opposition leader Zak Kirkup said the Liberal Party would also establish a Critical and Strategic Manufacturing Council, which would advise the government on key areas to develop vital manufacturing capabilities and jobs.  

In the wake of COVID-19, Mr Kirkup said it was important that WA was more self-reliant and was not exposed to significant shocks in global supply chains.  

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted that our global supply chains are highly vulnerable to disruption, leaving the state exposed to shortages of critically important equipment and materials,” he said.

“COVID taught us that WA didn’t have its own critical medical supplies. 

“We didn’t have enough supplies of surgical masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment to keep our key frontline health workers safe from the virus.

“We also want to incentivise those businesses to create thousands of local jobs here in WA.”

The plan forms part of the Liberals’ commitment to creating 200,000 jobs over the next five years, the total number Treasury data indicates the state would need in order to fully recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.

The announcement was made during a visit to Pfizer’s Bentley manufacturing hub, which produces more than 120 million doses of cancer products for hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.

Late last year, the company confirmed plans to close the hub in 2023; a decision that is expected to result in about 470 job losses.

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