The Australian Government is backing small and medium enterprises with a funding package worth more than $4.9 million for export hubs across the country.
Ten export hubs across five states will be the beneficiaries of the initiative, including those in the mining equipment, energy and advanced manufacturing industries.
Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the grants would help SMEs to harness opportunities in international markets.
“These grants will help get businesses back on the front foot after the disruption caused by this unprecedented pandemic,” Andrews said.
“I’m confident demand for Australian goods and services will be even stronger when we come out the other side of this pandemic, and the government is committed to helping businesses develop export opportunities and connections.”
Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the COVID-19 crisis had hindered some exporters’ ability to enter new markets or reach their existing overseas customers.
“This funding boost will help our SME exporters get more exposure in international markets, allowing them to establish supply-chains as well as form new relationships with potential customers that we know is so critical to export success,” he added.
Each successful grant recipient will receive matched funding of up to $1.5 million for projects up to two years in length.
Mining equipment, technology and services (METS) industry body, Austmine has been appointed as one of the grant recipients, signifying its successful bid to establish export hubs for METS companies.
Austmine stated the hubs will prioritise on linking regional SMEs with expertise and support in metropolitan centres and international nodes, including offering a referral point to exporter training, business management programs and additional funding.
“Australian METS are leaders in mining innovation and technology on a global scale, and our hubs will be critical in helping a diverse range of SMEs share their capabilities, expertise and unique solutions with the world,” Austmine chief executive Christine Gibbs-Stewart said.
Austmine intends to work closely with state and federal government partners on this project, with operations set to begin in June before services are launched in July.
Fellow industry body, METS Ignited welcomed the government’s initiative, stating that it was a boost for Western Australian and Victorian METS.
The digital mining export hub in Western Australia aims to build a digital mining capability network, while the Victorian export hub will focus on METS capability acceleration, METS Ignited stated.
“METS Ignited is very supportive of the SME Export Hub funding announcement which highlights the importance of the METS sector to the national economy,” METS Ignited chief executive Adrian Beer said.
“The expansion of the program to include Austmine to lead the export hubs for Western Australia and Victoria will not only provide growth and capability development opportunities for METS exporters but also an opportunity to enhance Australian METS’ reputation internationally,” Beer said.