National Reconstruction Fund passage Ai Group comment

“Australia’s commitment to industrial transformation received a boost this week with the passage through Parliament of the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Bill,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“The NRF is a vehicle that could help position Australia to benefit from the digitalisation, automation, artificial intelligence and the clean energy revolution that is remaking global industry. It could be used to seize emerging opportunities in areas where we have demonstrated or potential competitive advantages.

“Ensuring that the workforce skills requirements will be met for businesses receiving funds will be central to the success of the NRF. This will require close and effective consultation with Jobs and Skills Australia and other relevant agencies.

“The NRF is only one tool the Government can use to encourage investment and diversification within Australian industry. Ensuring there is a viable pipeline of investment-ready Australian companies is fundamental to the success of the NRF as are strong and well-connected research and innovation ecosystems with a focus on keeping pace with global trends.

“The NRF Board composition is a further critical success factor. The NRF was created to address blind spots in the financial sector when it comes to investing in priority areas including in manufacturing for scale and transformation. Addressing these blind spots effectively will require a range of skills around the Board table that goes beyond those of traditional financial experts,” Mr Willox said.

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