Labor puts up $1b factory fund
“It will facilitate investment in ... manufacturing, engineering and design.”
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he will pump $1 billion into Australian manufacturers to kick-start local industry, promising cheap loans for business innovation if Labor wins government at the next election.
Mr Shorten will today commit Labor to establishing a $1 billion Manufacturing Future Fund, saying it will back local companies struggling to win support from bankers.
It is the second major cash commitment made by Mr Shorten in as many days, after promising $700 million for an Ellenbrook rail line yesterday, in another sign the Labor leader has one eye on the chance Opposition Leader that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will call an early election next year.
South Australian seats are in play at the next election, as well as a swathe of Liberalheld WA electorates.
Mr Shorten will make the manufacturing announcement in Adelaide, which faces the loss of manufacturing jobs as the car industry closes.
Modelled on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation— former prime minister Julia Gillard’s so-called “green bank” — the fund would offer concessional loans, equity injections, or underwrite bank debt for manufacturing businesses wanting to expand or upgrade equipment.
Mr Shorten said the aim of the fund was not to replace bank debt or other sources of finance but act as a co-investor in manufacturers struggling to win the backing of banks.
“It will facilitate investment in advanced manufacturing, engineering and design by partnering with private finance to reduce the perceived risk in innovative projects,” Mr Shorten will say.