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$7m set aside for SA’s south-east innovators

Thursday, 15 December 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Companies in South Australia’s south-east have received grants of up to $1.2 million in the first round of a region-specific fund, while more than $7 million has been set aside for round two.

 

The South East South Australia Innovation Investment Fund recently awarded 17 grants to South Australian companies, ranging from $90,000 to $1.2 million.

 

The funding will be used to establish and expanding manufacturing capabilities in the state’s south-east region, which, according to Manufacturing Minister Kim Carr, has suffered a setback.

 

“The south-east region took a hit early this year when [manufacturing company] Kimberly Clark announced a restructure of its operations in Millicent,” Senator Carr said in a statement.

 

“The Australian and state governments responded by establishing this $12 million fund.”

 

According to Tom Koutsantonis, the South Australian Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, the fund will provide local industry with a much-needed boost.

 

“This funding round will see a number of jobs generated in diverse industry sectors, from engineering to wool processing to precision agriculture services,” he said in a statement.

 

Round one recipients include:

  • Wild Caught Fisheries. Awarded a grant of $119,670, Wild Caught Fisheries will install a new hook fishing system, creating at least four new jobs.
  • Holla-Fresh. A $356,000 grant will be used to upgrade the company’s hydroponic and production facility, expected to create 10 new jobs.
  • Wickham Flower and Co. A $500,000 grant will enable site development and precision agriculture expansion, creating 13 new jobs.  

  • South Australian Wool Products. With the help of an $800,000 grant, a new wool processing line will produce high-end wool quilts and underlays, creating 18 new jobs.

  • McDonnell Industries. Awarded the maximum amount of $1.2 million, McDonnell Industries will establish a new sawmill in the town of Tantanoola, creating 22 new jobs.  

Meanwhile, $7.39 million has been set aside for round two, with applications now open.

 

South Australian Senator Ann McEwan, who visited Millicent in May to speak with community members and officials about the fund, says the community response has been “very positive”.

 

“People welcomed information about SESAIIF… They want to invest in the future of the region. I urge businesses in the south-east to take advantage of this excellent opportunity,” she says.

 

Applications for round must be received by February 29, 2012.

 

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has allocated $45 million of funding in the first round of the National Workforce Development Fund, with a focus on resources, construction and health.

 

The funding was allocated to industry skills councils who then choose those businesses that demonstrate they have a workforce development plan.

 

The businesses must also be prepared to contribute to improving the qualifications of existing staff or taking on new apprentices.

 

The government is expected to announce another round of funding for businesses that wish to train workers in the new year.