National Reconstruction Fund moves closer to reality

The passing of the $15bn National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Corporation Bill through the House of Representatives is a positive step forward for all Australians, as it takes the fund closer to reality.

AusBiotech welcomes the milestone as the fund would represents a valuable investment in the life sciences sector, enabling new technologies, innovations and capabilities to develop and progress, with significant benefits to Australians and the economy.

The legislation enabling the establishment of the Fund is a key initiative of the Australian Government's A Future Made in Australia policy. The fund will co-invest in independently assessed projects across seven priority areas and over seven years, including $1.5 billion in 'medical manufacturing' as well as $1 billion each for critical technologies and advanced manufacturing.

As the voice of the Australian life sciences industry for nearly 40 years, AusBiotech put forward a number of recommendations in its submission regarding the Fund, which aims to "add value and develop capability … to create high quality, sustainable industries and jobs".

These include the proposal for a 'fund of funds' where greater private and public investment into the sector can be added, for example, superannuation funds. This could then create a mechanism to both attract and build (diversify) investments, as well as to overcome key skills gaps that the sector is currently facing.

The submission also highlighted the need for patient capital for sustainable growth opportunities; the need to consider companies of all sizes; that success should be measured through a set of balanced financial and non-financial objectives such as patient outcomes and skills and learning development; and the need for biotech-specific expertise at high-level appointments to maximise the contribution of industry knowledge and skills.

The submission was developed following a number of member engagement initiatives including being a key topic of discussion at AusBiotech's CEO Policy Forum that brought together 27 biotech company CEOs to exchange on key topics in the Biotechnology Blueprint (Blueprint).

AusBiotech looks forward to the passing of the Bill that will help to boost our sovereign capability, diversify the nation's economy, and importantly, help create secure jobs.

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