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Manufacturing Works Program

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 14:41 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation a question regarding the government’s Manufacturing Works program.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: In May this year, Frost & Sullivan released its assessment report of the government’s Manufacturing Works program. A section of the report detailed some of the issues or challenges that participants have raised in respect of their participation in the program. Smaller companies, in particular, expressed difficulty in justifying some of the up-front costs required to participate in the program. These companies expressed an interest in possible payback schemes that would allow them to distribute the associated costs over a longer period of time. My question to the minister is: is the government considering or exploring implementing a payback scheme for smaller businesses in order to encourage more small manufacturing businesses to participate in the program?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:43 ): I thank the honourable member for his question and for bringing up the Frost & Sullivan report that looked at and talked about the great benefits that this program has provided to South Australian manufacturers. In relation to specific recommendations made in that report, we are always open to changing what we do to make sure it best meets the needs of South Australian companies and manufacturers.

I might note that one of the Hon. Andrew McLachlan’s favourite topics to ask questions about that he knows well of is the micro-finance fund. That could be seen as quite a good response to this, that is, small grants for start-up ideas for companies that are finding it difficult to access funds or grants elsewhere. So, if there’s a specific company the Hon. Andrew McLachlan has in mind that is having trouble accessing, I am more than happy to speak to that company and to go through some of the other possible grants that are available to support manufacturing in this state.

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