Purpose 2: Growing business investment and improving business capability
This purpose aims to facilitate competitiveness and innovation by building a diversified, flexible, resilient and dynamic economy that can identify and adapt to new markets and emerging opportunities. Achieving Purpose 2 will help drive Australia’s future prosperity and continued jobs growth. It will do so by supporting the transformation of existing industries and the growth of new ones, enabling access to new markets and improving competition in existing markets.
In 2019–20, the department worked to achieve Purpose 2 through five activities:
- Activity 2.1: Creating more competitive marketplaces
- Activity 2.2: Supporting business and market development
- Activity 2.3: Supporting industry transformation by encouraging innovation and investment
- Activity 2.4: Supporting the sustainable development of the resources sector
- Activity 2.5: Growing a stronger Northern Australian economy.
Performance criteria and results Table 5 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Purpose 2 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), as set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 18.
Table 5: Purpose 2: Growing business investment and improving business capability
Support the growth of entrepreneurship activity in Australian businesses
Australia’s ranking in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicator of total early-stage entrepreneurship activity (TEA)
Maintain or improve Australia’s top 10 TEA ranking
At 10.52%, Australia ranked 12th out of 25 OECD countries. Our ranking has dropped from 10th in 2017–18 (12.21%).
The latest data indicates a slight decline in the proportion of new businesses founded by a member of the adult Australian population (aged 18–64). On this indicator, we are behind the US (18.16%), Canada (17.42%) and South Korea (14.94%). But, we are performing better than Switzerland (9.77%), the UK (9.34%) and Sweden (8.25%).
Support the growth of innovative activities in Australian businesses
Australia’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index
Maintain or improve Australia’s 22nd ranking in the Global Innovation Index
Australia ranked 23rd in 2020.
Activity 2.1: Creating more competitive marketplaces
Key achievements This activity is made up of policy development initiatives, interventions (programs) and projects that are intended to create a more competitive marketplace to achieve profitable and sustainable industries for the future.
The Anti-Dumping Commission has managed a heavy workload effectively, initiating 134 cases in 2019–20 (a 17.5 per cent increase on 2018–19). The number of investigations initiated from applications for dumping or countervailing notices from Australian industry increased by 155 per cent compared to 2018–19.
The Commission assisted Australia’s defence at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a dispute with Indonesia regarding anti-dumping measures on imports of A4 copy paper from Indonesia. The WTO ruling maintains important flexibilities for Australia’s anti-dumping system.
The Commission enhanced its Trade Remedy Index to make it an interactive web-based product for users of the trade remedies system. Users can select products, countries and timeframes to examine relevant trade flows, enabling them to make more informed and timely decisions in interacting with the system.
The department has implemented an interim process for administering steel tariff rate quotas with Indonesia, which were negotiated under the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Coming into force on 5 July 2020, these outcomes will improve market access and reduce barriers to trade for exports of certain steel products to Indonesia.
Performance criteria and results Table 6 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Activity 2.1 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), as set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 18.
Table 6: Activity 2.1: Creating more competitive marketplaces
Create a competitive marketplace to ensure Australian businesses and manufacturers compete in a fair market
Proportion of anti-dumping Preliminary Affirmative Determination (PAD) reports, or status reports explaining that there are insufficient grounds to issue a PAD, made on or before day 60 of an anti-dumping/countervailing investigation
Proportion of anti-dumping inquiries to the business.gov.au hotline and the client support area responded to within client service standards
Influential participation in Free Trade Agreement negotiations support Australian interests to increase and deliver better outcomes for market access and trade
The department actively engaged in free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the European Union and the multi-party Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to secure facilitated trade and fair outcomes for Australian manufacturers and resource companies. The department also provided support to Australian leads for the ongoing Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Similarly, the department negotiated industrial outcomes under the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which entered into force in July 2020.
Provide support for Industry Service Organisations
Australian memberships of key international standardisation and accreditation bodies are maintained
Standards Australia maintained membership of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The National Association of Testing Authorities maintained membership of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation and the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation.
Analysis The Anti-Dumping Commission provides a competent, effective and efficient trade remedy service for Australian manufacturers and other interested parties. It continues to help Australian businesses deal with unfair trade, and supports jobs and growth.
The Commission’s core investigative tool is on-site verification of the financial data of overseas exporters, importers and Australian industry. With the advent of COVID-19, the Commission had to adopt a short-term modified approach to verification. While this approach is considered to be less efficient and effective than on-site verification, the Commission will use it for all investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It intends to revert to standard on-site verification practices when it is considered safe to do so.
Activity 2.2: Supporting business and market development
Key achievements This activity includes policy development initiatives, interventions (programs) and projects that are intended to enhance business leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills, increase innovation and investment in growth sectors, and open up international export markets to Australian businesses.
The department increased our support for Australian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included prioritising payments to recipients experiencing financial and operational disruption; making reporting timeframes more flexible, where possible; and enhancing communications to our customers. We also worked with several Industry Growth Centres to implement aspects of the COVID-19 medical response.
Minister Andrews established a non-government organisation (NGO) under the Empowering Business to Go Digital program, which was a headline recommendation of the Small Business Digital Taskforce. This NGO will provide digital resources from across government and the private sector to SMEs, providing a focal point to businesses and their trusted advisers to understand and adopt digital technologies.
Performance criteria and results Table 7 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Activity 2.2 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), as set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 19.
Table 7: Activity 2.2: Supporting business and market development
Grow the number of exporters
Number of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participating in the SME Export Hub reporting increased revenue/export sales
While the target number of participating SMEs has been exceeded, there has not been a confirmed increase in revenue/export sales. The hubs have been impeded by severe drought conditions, bushfires and the impacts of COVID-19.
Exports Hubs deliver against their objectives through helping collaborative networks of SMEs to identify their competitive strengths and innovation potential and develop export plans, including activities to:
Nearly 500 SMEs attended the 174 activities conducted by the hubs. Hubs have been impeded by severe drought, bushfires and the impacts of COVID-19. They are moving to digital delivery of services and support, where possible. Hubs are reviewing their services to ensure they provide targeted support to help participating SMEs access markets when they reopen.
Help entrepreneurs to innovate, compete and grow their business by providing expert support, funding and incentives
Number of services provided by the Entrepreneurs’ Programme that strengthen business management and networks, develop start-up capabilities, enhance research collaborations, and facilitate commercialisation of novel products, processes and services
The Entrepreneurs’ Programme provided additional advisory services to customers to support them in responding to the impacts of COVID-19.
Build industry sector capability and collaborative networks to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness
Number of Growth Centre activities against key objectives
This number refers to activities the Industry Growth Centres organised or hosted. The actual number exceeds the target due to them delivering various collaborative activities with a network of industry partners.
Number of participants in Growth Centre activities
Industry Growth Centres have established a solid network of industry partners, supporting Government’s work to engage effectively within their sectors.
This number refers to individual participants in Industry Growth Centres activities. The actual number exceeds the target due to them delivering various collaborative activities with a network of industry partners.
Established Growth Centres deliver against the objectives of Sector Competitiveness Plans including activities to:
The Industry Growth Centres have engaged broadly across industry bodies and associations, research organisations and universities, and Commonwealth and state and territory governments to progress priorities against the four objectives.
They have worked to:
The Industry Growth Centres have also supported the response to recent major challenges Australia has faced (drought, bushfires and COVID-19), including through emergency funding programs, networking and information support. They have provided advice to government on industry conditions and contributed to cross-sectoral responses to COVID-19 through government taskforces.
Analysis The department played a key part in the Australian Government’s COVID-19 response, sourcing industry intelligence and facilitating the manufacturing of personal protective equipment, critical medical supplies and ventilators. We supported the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre in establishing its COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register. The register helps businesses to source goods and services, and facilitates connections. More than 2500 businesses have created profiles on the register since March 2020.
We engaged directly with stakeholders to gather real-time information on the impact of COVID-19. This included its effect on transport and logistics, food security, and supply challenges in remote and regional Australia. We worked closely with the Industry Growth Centres and the Industry Capability Network to source crucial business intelligence to feed into the pandemic response.
The department worked with industry and government to better align, target and invest funding across programs and policies, support growth and maximise Australian industry participation in major projects. The Industry Growth Centres assisted our stakeholder engagement and policy development activities during the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, providing key insights as situations developed.
Activity 2.3: Supporting industry transformation by encouraging innovation and investments
Key achievements This activity consists of policy development initiatives, interventions (programs) and projects that are intended to encourage innovation and investment to underpin industry transformation.
Through the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, the department committed $48.3 million to co-fund around 200 capital investment projects that help businesses scale up, invest in new technologies and develop new high-value products. The projects are expected to create more than 2600 new jobs and associated reskilling, and increase the competitiveness of Australian manufacturing. Successful SMEs will invest around $167 million of their own funds to transform their manufacturing operations.
The Australian Space Agency launched measures to support the growth and transformation of our space industry, including contracting $24 million in grants through the Space Infrastructure Fund (SIF) and International Space Investment (ISI) initiative, and implementing the $150 million for Australia’s Moon to Mars initiative. It also began work under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018, updating the regulatory environment to support the continued safe operation of responsible space activities in Australia while balancing entrepreneurship.
Performance criteria and results Table 8 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Activity 2.3 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 20.
Table 8: Activity 2.3: Supporting industry transformation by encouraging innovation and investments
Support manufacturing to embrace new technologies and develop high value–added products and services for the global marketplace
Induced private sector investment in new or expanded business activity from, for example, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund, Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme, and Manufacturing Modernisation Fund ($’000)
COVID-19 has contributed to the reduced level of induced investment in 2019–20, with around $16.2 million of Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund–induced investment being deferred to next financial year. In addition, $34 million of planned Manufacturing Modernisation Fund–induced investment will occur in 2020–21, due to projects commencing late in the financial year.
Transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that lifts the broader economy, and inspires and improves the lives of Australians underpinned by strong international and national engagement
Implement the Australian Civil Space Strategy:
Significant achievements in 2019–20 included:
IBISWorld’s independent report estimated Australian civil space economy revenue grew by an average annual rate of 8.0% over the five years from 2015–16 to 2019–20.
Analysis The Australian Space Agency is pursuing new opportunities and continuing its work to deliver against Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy (2019–2028) and the Australian Government’s objectives. Its overarching goal is to triple the sector’s contribution to GDP to $12 billion and create an additional 20 000 jobs by 2030.
The agency is growing its national capabilities, ensuring safety and opening doors internationally. It has established its new headquarters in Adelaide, leveraging the Adelaide City Deal. In the past financial year it launched four SIF projects worth $13.2 million and 10 ISI projects worth $11 million. Under the Moon to Mars initiative ($150 million), the agency has designed three programs supporting Australian organisations to partner with NASA as it pursues flights to the Moon and on to Mars. It also commenced administration of the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018.
Activity 2.4: Supporting the sustainable development of the resources sector
Key achievements This activity is composed of policy development initiatives, interventions (programs) and projects that are intended to support the competitive and sustainable development of the resources sector, attract private sector investment and encourage innovative technologies.
On 30 August 2019, Australia and Timor-Leste exchanged diplomatic notes to confirm the Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty had entered into force. This included finalising transitional arrangements with the affected petroleum companies, and bringing into effect significant changes to several pieces of domestic legislation.
The Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO), established on 2 January 2020, leads a national effort to grow the critical minerals sector. The CMFO developed the COAG Critical Minerals Development Roadmap; strengthened international collaboration; partnered with Geoscience Australia to develop an online Critical Minerals Portal; and established the Advancing R&D for Critical Minerals program.
On 24 January 2020, the department reported on a review of the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM). The ADGSM was implemented in 2017 to ensure sufficient domestic gas supply. The review found that the ADGSM has been effective in helping ensure sufficient domestic gas supply in the East Coast gas market.
On 14 February 2020, the Government established the Northern Endeavour Temporary Operations Program to ensure the continued safety and security of the Northern Endeavour floating production storage and offtake (FPSO) vessel following liquidation of the Northern Oil and Gas Australia (NOGA) group of companies. The supported activities of the program include maintaining the facility in ‘lighthouse mode’ (no production, with minimum crew required for safe operations), securing the facility and associated wells for the Laminaria-Corallina field, and undertaking the required operational activities.
The department implemented changes to the offshore petroleum regulatory regime to improve consultation practices and increase the transparency of environmental planning for offshore petroleum activities. The changes will also improve oil pollution emergency response arrangements in the unlikely event of a spill that extends into a state or territory jurisdiction.
The former COAG Energy Council commissioned the department and the Chief Scientist to deliver a National Hydrogen Strategy by the end of 2019. The strategy was released on 22 November 2019 and provides a framework for all jurisdictions to align their priorities, streamline regulatory and approval processes, and inform safety and training requirements.
A site at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia, was identified in early 2020 for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF). The House of Representatives passed amendments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 in June 2020 to acquire the site. The Bill has been the subject of an Inquiry by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which recommended the Bill be passed unamended. Passage of the Bill would also provide the Kimba community certainty about the establishment of a $20 million community fund.
A community benefit program will provide grants for projects around Hawker and Kimba, the two communities shortlisted for the NRWMF, to help develop community infrastructure and improve economic outcomes. Applications for the grants opened in May 2020. Previous funding rounds supported projects for mental health programs, upgrades to sporting facilities and the development of independent living accommodation.
The Australian Government has a direct regulatory role in the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory. The mine operator, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), will cease mining operations at Ranger in January 2021. ERA must then rehabilitate the site in accordance with stringent environmental requirements. Throughout the year, the department worked with ERA to review and subsequently increase the value of security withheld for the mine’s rehabilitation. The Australian and Northern Territory governments also approved ERA’s updated Ranger Mine Closure Plan. Both achievements reflect stakeholders’ shared commitment to the site’s effective rehabilitation.
Performance criteria and results Table 9 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Activity 2.4 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 20.
Table 9: Activity 2.4: Supporting the sustainable development of the resources sector
Promote the development of Australia’s resources sector through expanded exploration and investment in new projects
Implement the National Resources Strategy with state and territory counterparts through the COAG Energy Council
National Resources Strategy delivered by mid-2020
The department is on track to implement the National Resources Strategy with state and territory counterparts. In 2019–20, we supported regulatory reviews, launched the National Hydrogen Strategy, established the CMFO and undertook the largest acreage release for offshore exploration since 2000.
Grow the resources sector to create new jobs in regional Australia
Year-on-year maintenance or increase in relevant new jobs created
The number of employed persons in the Mining Industry in Australia in May 2020 was 238 052, down 8976 (3.7%) since May 2019 (original fourth-quarter average).
The number of employed persons in the mining industry (non-metro) in May 2020 was 126 597, down 4657 (3.5%) since May 2019 (original fourth-quarter average).
In May 2020, non-metro mining employment made up 52.4% of all mining employment, down 2 percentage points since May 2019, when non-metro mining employment was 54.4%.
The department has supported growth in the resources sector through support for exploration, R&D, international partnerships and pursuing new opportunities such as critical minerals and hydrogen through the release of respective strategies.
Source: ABS, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, May 2020, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003.
Position Australia to capture new opportunities in global resources markets, especially in critical minerals
Deliver a national resources brand (with Austrade) and a Global Resources Strategy
Strategy and brand delivered by mid-2020
Delayed 6–12 months.
COVID-19 interrupted the consultation required to complete these products. It was also important to delay the release of the products until after the pandemic.
Finalise the National Hydrogen Strategy
National Hydrogen Strategy finalised
The National Hydrogen Strategy was released by COAG Energy Council Ministers on 22 November 2019.
Identify and remove regulatory and administrative barriers that impose unnecessary costs and delays to resource projects
In August 2019, the former Minister for Resources and Northern Australia referred the terms of reference for a Productivity Commission study into regulation of the sector. This study will run into 2020–21 and will identify regulatory best practice from Australian and international examples.
The National Critical Minerals Development Roadmap was agreed by Commonwealth, state and territory resources ministers on 16 April 2020. The Roadmap aims to boost critical mineral exploration, open up new basins, and promote downstream value-adding activity.
Safely manage Australia’s radioactive waste
Determining a suitable site to host a radioactive waste management facility, and progress site-specific design
Site Selection: A decision is made in relation to a site, including resolving any acquisition and compensation issues
A preferred site at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia, has been identified following assessment of technical and community sentiment information.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 passed the House of Representatives on 11 June 2020, allowing the site to be acquired. The Senate will consider the Bill following a report from the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.
Analysis Signing of the Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste was a key highlight for 2019–20. Prime Minister Morrison exchanged diplomatic notes with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Rauk on 30 August 2019, verifying domestic requirements had been met to bring the treaty into force. Parliament passed the treaty and it was implemented after 18 months of high-level negotiations on legislative and transitional arrangements.
Domestically, the department continued to promote the importance of the resources sector to the Australia economy. We have driven exploration for new resources potential by identifying policy goals in the National Resources Statement and supporting the sector to unlock development of new basins and unexplored areas. This includes expanding the Exploring for the Future program. The CMFO, established on 2 January 2020, continues to lead the government’s efforts to grow the critical minerals sector.
In the fourth quarter of 2019–20, the department’s focus shifted considerably following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We worked closely with government and industry stakeholders to respond to key issues across the sector, including maintaining workforce security, identifying supply chain vulnerabilities and ensuring disaster preparedness. The resources sector continues to lead the economy during recovery from the pandemic.
Activity 2.5: Growing a stronger Northern Australian economy
Key achievements This activity comprises policy development initiatives, interventions (programs) and projects that are intended to drive economic growth and investment in Northern Australia.
The statutory review of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016, which began in 2019–20, is examining whether reforms could improve the effectiveness of NAIF’s support for economic infrastructure in Northern Australia. A total of 122 face-to-face consultations have been undertaken in nine locations in Northern Australia (Darwin, Cairns, Rockhampton, Broome, Alice Springs, Mackay, Townsville and Mount Isa), with additional meetings in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.
The department is establishing the strategic direction for the Northern Australia agenda as we move into the next five-year phase of developing the 20-year framework set out in Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. Through the collaborative multi-jurisdictional Ministerial Forum, agreement was reached to focus on financing critical infrastructure projects through NAIF, and investing in minerals and energy, water resources, roads, workforce development and Indigenous economic participation.
We developed the Supporting Indigenous Business Project. The project is a cohesive approach to building Indigenous business capability and outcomes by improving access to programs through policy development, encouraging procurement of Indigenous businesses and supporting departmental officers to meaningfully engage with Indigenous businesses.
Performance criteria and results Table 10 presents the results measured against the performance criteria for Activity 2.5 and its associated Program 1.2 (refer to Figure 3), as set out in the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Corporate Plan 2019–20, page 21.
Table 10: Activity 2.5: Growing a stronger Northern Australian economy
Grow the number of jobs in Northern Australia
Number of new jobs created through federally financed infrastructure projects
Year-on-year maintenance or increase in relevant new jobs created
An estimated 1900 jobs have been supported through NAIF projects that accessed federal finance. These include Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, Humpty Doo Barramundi, NT Airports, Townsville Airport, Onslow Marine Support Base, and Kalium Lakes.
Number of businesses contracted to assist with construction of federally funded infrastructure projects, and contract dollar value
Year-on-year maintenance or increase
These two northern programs (Northern Australia Roads Programme and Beef Roads Programme) have approved 38 projects, with 25 of these projects completed, 11 underway and the remaining two to commence throughout 2020 and not scheduled to be completed until 2022. Current estimates indicate that over 2,000 direct local jobs will be created.
In 2019/2020, 14 roads were completed at the total CAPEX value of $232.68 million, with an Australian Government investment of $184.15 million (DITRDC data). State and Territory governments are responsible for facilitating contracts with local businesses to undertake construction. Some 14 businesses were contracted to deliver on these works with additional sub-contracts engaged by jurisdictions as necessary. Noting that in some instances, the same business may have been contracted for multiple projects.
Grow the Indigenous economy in Northern Australia
Number of new Indigenous jobs created through federally financed infrastructure projects
Year-on-year maintenance or increase in relevant new jobs created
Each NAIF financed project is required to prepare an Indigenous Engagement Strategy (IES), setting out objectives for Indigenous participation, procurement and employment that reflects the Indigenous population in the region of the proposed project.
Once construction activity and IES reporting obligations commence, proponents will report to NAIF on the number of Indigenous full-time equivalent employees (across construction and operations) as well as the number of contracts and the value of contracts with Indigenous businesses, as a percentage of all contracts. NAIF will be able to provide this data in future reports as it becomes available.
Number of Indigenous businesses contracted to assist with construction of federally funded projects, and contract dollar value
Year-on-year maintenance or increase
The inclusion of Indigenous employment and business use targets is providing Indigenous Australians with greater opportunities to access employment or to start or expand businesses as road upgrade projects begin across the north.
Indigenous businesses accessing departmental programs
At 17 June 2020, 23 out of 2127 (1.1%) successful grant applications to the department belonged to businesses that identified as either Indigenous owned or Indigenous controlled.
From 2019–20, the department’s grant application forms were modified to include two questions that allow businesses to identify as 50% or more Indigenous owned, or 50% or more Indigenous controlled.
We won’t be able to see a year-on-year increase until 2020–21, as this is the first year that data has been available.
Analysis Economic development is a core objective of the department. A key driver for achieving this objective is support for major projects around Australia, particularly those with the potential to provide lasting benefit for the communities involved. To this end, the department performed well in 2019–20, making progress in focus areas such as Northern Australia, and on vital projects like the NRWMF. We achieved significant milestones in all focus areas, despite disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Internally, we made a strong contribution to government efforts, deploying departmental staff to internal and external taskforces, including (at one point) most of our Senior Executive Service (SES) staff. The pandemic has also brought about a significant refocusing of our work. The five year plan to refresh the Northern Australia agenda has shifted to focusing on economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19, as has the statutory review of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act. Some areas, such as the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, experienced a temporary lull in their functions (with staff redeployed) as a result of the economic disruption, while others, including the NRWMF Taskforce were able to continue their work.