Australian Manuka Honey Association receives $165,000 grant

The Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has received a $165,000 grant from the Government to support international market growth for the highly valued, medicinal honey.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said the grant, funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, would help Australian producers and exporters raise awareness of the unique quality of Australia’s Manuka honey.

This important support will help the association also reinforce Australian Manuka honeys’ rightful place in the rapidly growing global market, particularly amidst recent attempts from New Zealand producers to monopolise the term ‘Manuka’ internationally.

Comprised of Australia’s leading Manuka honey exporters and peak Australian honey industry bodies, including ManukaLife, Berringa, Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and ASX listed Capilano Honey, the association aims to foster the industry’s growth and uphold global quality standards for Manuka honey produced in Australia.

“We are very appreciative of the support from the federal government in helping us market our Australian Manuka products globally,” said Paul Callander, Chairman of the Australian Manuka Honey Association.

“This growing industry has opened up additional opportunity for Australian Manuka honey to further develop medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutraceutical markets as well as Manuka honey in a jar. This expansion will lead to new jobs in the development of value add products manufactured in Australia, which are in increasingly high demand from global consumers.”

The Association plans to allocate the funding towards promotion, growth, quality and global education of the Australian Manuka honey industry.

Guidelines for wine tourism grants now available

The Australian Government has released the guidelines for the $10 million Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant program, before applications open on 1 July 2019.

Eligible wine producers will be able to optimise visitors’ experiences at their cellar doors with an annual grant of up to $100,000, aimed at boosting the wine and tourism sectors.

The funding opportunity comes in addition to the $10 million of International Wine Tourism State and Competitive Grants, which were made available through the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package) and closed on 2 March 2018.

Total funding under the cellar door grant program will be capped at $10 million each financial year.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said, “this program recognises the huge investments that wine businesses make in local communities and the value they add in attracting international tourists.

“With the growing demand for outstanding food and wine as part of the travel experience, it’s important that our wine regions maintain their competitive edge,” she said.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said “the efforts to boost our international wine tourism experiences are great for our regions.

“Research by Wine Intelligence indicates a shift among winery visitors from only tasting wines to wanting to participate in an overall experience.

“Between the $50m Package activities and the cellar door grants program, we’ll be seeing some exciting wine tourism initiatives rolled out over the next few years as regions maintain their competitive edge.”


The cellar door grant is part of a coordinated suite of measures developed with the Australian wine sector after extensive consultation on reforms to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate arrangements. It complements the components of the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, which are being delivered from 2017–18 to 2019–20.

WA hits out at Canberra after missing out on agricultural funding

The Western Australian Government has claimed more than 1,500 of the state’s workers will miss out on long-term jobs after the Federal Coalition Government declined the State’s funding application for two important irrigation projects from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

According to the WA government, the two projects were the Myalup-Wellington project and the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.

It is understood in the statement that in June 2017, the state government wrote to Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce to confirm it would commit $56 million for the two projects to secure a sustainable water supply for growers and support agricultural jobs in WA’s South-West.

Each project had committed funding from the private sector and the State Government’s commitment was subject to the Federal Government funding.

The state government reiterated in it’s statement that it’s financial commitment to the projects remains the same and the WA continues to be committed to securing funding from the Federal Government.

“This is yet another snub to Western Australian taxpayers from the Federal Coalition Government,” said WA Water Minister David Kelly.

“Yesterday’s decision by the Federal Government means more than 1,500 Western Australians have missed out on long-term jobs.

“I am incredibly disappointed by the Federal Government’s decision.  After all, it was the previous Western Australian Liberal National government that made a pitch for Federal funding in the first place,” said Kelly.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said, “This is extremely disappointing for growers in the South-West:  we prioritised these projects in our review of Royalties for Regions because they were job creators for the region.

“We have a realistic goal to double the value of our horticultural output in WA but we need real investment from the Federal Government to be able to reach that potential and create new jobs across regional WA.”

NSW Dairy Fund applications to fire up innovation

Industry advocacy group Dairy Connect has called on farmers, academics, industry stakeholders and research institutions to take advantage of innovation project funding available in this year’s NSW Government Dairy Industry Fund.

CEO Shaughn Morgan said today that a new round of funding will open on 18 July with up to $700,000 available to support projects and initiatives that will contribute to dairy industry growth, profitability, sustainability and resilience.

“Innovation is critical to future success across a broad spectrum of dairy industry activity up and down the value chain,” he said.

“We support the fund and urge critical stakeholders and agencies to prepare submissions for R&D funding.”

Funding applications are open to individuals, universities, research organisations, consultants, not-for-profit organisations, state and local government, farmers and community groups – joint applications showing collaboration are encouraged.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Deputy Director General, Michael Bullen, said the $1 million fund has a track record in supporting successful projects.

“This round offers $700,000 for project proposals which are aligned with the strategies developed in the NSW Dairy Industry Strategic Action Plan,” Bullen said.

“The industry aims to grow markets for NSW milk, build industry confidence, support strategic farm business transition and improve farm productivity.

“This is a significant opportunity to boost the value of NSW’s dairy industry, which produces more than one billion litres of milk and contributes $584 million to the state’s economy each year.”

Applicants should first submit a brief preliminary project proposal, which will be assessed by the Dairy Industry Fund Steering Committee, representing the three Dairy Australia Regional Development Programs, Dairy NSW, Murray Dairy and Subtropical Dairy, and the two farmer advocacy bodies, Dairy Connect and NSW Farmers Dairy Committee.

Successful applicants will be invited to prepare a full project proposal and have the opportunity to present a summary to the Dairy Industry Fund Advisory Committee for feedback prior to their final submission.

Preference will be given to projects which demonstrate significant scale to the benefits they would bring to the NSW dairy industry.

Mr Bullen said Project 20:20 Pathways to Change, was a good example of a successful project showcasing the feed-base, people, business, natural resource management and herd performance of best practice farms across the state.

“Detailed guidelines outline the application process and the types of projects which are eligible for funding,” he said.

Applications are open from 18 July until 18 August 2017.


New jobs for Melbourne-based Mexican food supplier

Boutique Mexican food supplier El Cielo Foods will create ten new jobs, invest in state-of-the-art equipment and boost its productivity with the help of a grant from the Victorian Government.

Visiting El Cielo Foods in Port Melbourne, Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan announced the company had received funding from the Future Industries Manufacturing Program.

El Cielo Foods will purchase and install equipment including conveyers, packaging and bagging machines, hoppers and industrial sifters.

The grant will also be used to establish a new facility in Airport West and upskill existing workers through specialised training for a new production line.

The company hopes to triple its production of corn chips – sourced from locally grown corn – to meet increased demand.

Established in 2012, the company is a leading manufacturer of traditional corn tortilla, traditional corn chips and tostadas.

El Cielo Foods produces its own corn flour and masa (dough) on site in Port Melbourne using traditional Mexican manufacturing processes, and distributes them nationwide.

This grant builds on the 19 projects already underway to support Victorian manufacturers, which are set to create 159 new full time jobs.

“These grants are giving businesses like El Cielo foods a chance to grow their workforce and expand production,” commented Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan.

“We’re proud to be helping manufacturers invest in new technologies that will transition Victoria towards an advanced manufacturing economy.”

Image: El Cielo Foods



Coffee company receives $225,000 grant, hires ex-auto workers

Coffee company Industry Beans has been awarded a Victorian government grant of $225,000 under a program aimed at creating jobs for former auto industry workers.

According to a statement from premier Daniel Andrews, the money will be used to assist the firm upgrade its 760 square metre facility at Brunswick, invest in new machinery to boost output, and increase its export revenues by $20 million annually. Industry Beans will also create a “revolutionary e-commerce platform”.

“We know Melbourne’s north will be one of the communities hardest hit, this funding will help bring in new investment and new jobs for former auto workers in the area,” said state employment minister Wade Noonan.

The grants come out of the $33 million Local Industry Fund for Transition. To qualify, businesses must pay for at least 75 per cent of a proposed upgrade out of their own money, and had to “maximise the number of retrenched automotive workers that will transition to their project prior to submitting applications”.

According to the statement, 20 new jobs will be created, with 16 of these for retrenched auto industry workers.

Ford announced in May 2013 that it will end production at its Geelong and Broadmeadows factories in October this year.


Has your food business tapped into government grants?

The importance of the food industry to Australia’s economic future is being recognised in the grant space, with a number of grant opportunities at both the Federal and State level on offer.

Government’s continue to offer grants and programs supporting sustainability and renewable energy initiatives as well as export development, and businesses in the food and agriculture sectors are well placed to benefit from them.

In South Australia, the Advanced Food Manufacturing Grant Program is currently open, with EOI’s closing later this month. Grants up to $100,000 are available for co-funded projects from South Australian food and beverage manufacturers (excluding wine) and public or private research technology providers that strengthen the food industry’s innovation capabilities and improve productivity, profitability and competitiveness.

With automation and data analytics key to the future success of the food industry, South Australia’s Manufacturing Technologies Program and Big Data Connect Program can provide the catalyst for businesses to leapfrog in this area with grants on offer to businesses looking to evaluate, assess, trial and adopt new technologies.

In Victoria, the state’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund has a number of programs where food and agri-food can benefit. Under the Innovation and Productivity stream, food and fibre is a designated emerging sector which draws preference for assistance with new technology and infrastructure projects that improve the efficiency and competitiveness of regional businesses.

New technologies and processes are also supported under Victoria’s Future Industries Manufacturing Program with grants of up to $500,000 available.

On a national level, the RIRDC’s research funding program opens next month which can support research programs in a number of industries including Chicken Meat and Honey Bee and Pollination.

Myriad grant opportunities are on offer or upcoming (open but not yet accepting applications) for businesses. If your food business is considering or exploring opportunities, new processes or technologies or moving premises, would possible financial assistance be an enabler?

SA offers SMEs grants to hire new workers

The South Australian government has announced a grant scheme, offering SMEs in the state – which has the country’s worst unemployment rate – $10,000 per each job created.

The Australian Financial Review and others report that the program announced in yesterday’s state budget applies to companies with a wage bill less than $5 million. The hires must last at least two years to be eligible.

“This is not available to Coles and Woolworths and BHP, this is for the small-to-medium-sized enterprises, the engine room of the South Australian economy, and lately it’s been spluttering a little bit,” said treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. SA’s SMEs number about 140,000.

According to the budget announcement, the “job accelerator grants” are uncapped for the number of new hires.

Companies with payroll bills totalling less than $600,000 annually are also eligible for a $4,000 grant per two-year hire under the scheme.

As well as the unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent, the Whyalla Arrium steelworks’ future is uncertain and Holden’s Elizabeth car factory will shut next year.

According to economic modelling released last month, the closure of Holden’s factory and the associated hit to suppliers will cost 13,000 jobs in the state.

“Our unemployment rate which I think every South Australian would agree is unacceptably high given what we have to consume with the loss of Holden, which was forced upon us — we didn’t ask for it,” said the treasurer.

Pig and poultry welfare research receives $1 million grant

A $1 million grant from the South Australian government will go towards expanding the animal welfare research facilities at the University of Adelaide's Roseworthy campus.

Roseworthy is home to one of Australia's leading free-range pig and poultry research facilities, as well as the headquarters of the Pork Cooperative Research Centre.

The grant comes during renewed scrutiny in to pig farming practices, including the use of sow stalls or 'gestation crates'. The practice is being banned in certain states and consumer demand is driving better welfare practices for farmed animals.

The money will be used to develop a remote animal behaviour monitoring system, an improved climate control system, and upgrades of the free-range poultry facility.

Professor Wayne Hein, Dean of Roseworthy campus, welcomed the grant.

“We have an outstanding collaborative hub at Roseworthy with some of the best animal science researchers in the country working at this site,” Professor Hein said.

“Roseworthy is also the headquarters of the Pork Cooperative Research Centre. The strong alignment with the CRC on campus means that industry engagement in the research undertaken on the campus is seamless and beneficial to all parties.

“This funding will help establish the highest standards of animal welfare in animal production systems.”


SA food and wine industry to benefit from grants

Twelve South Australian companies have shared in more than $340,000 of funding under the first round of the Export Partnership Program.

Seven of the twelve companies are from the food and wine industries, each receiving between $18,050 and $31,225.

Minister for Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith said there has been a resounding response from South Australian exporters with 48 fully completed applications received in this first round alone.

“This indicates a healthy appetite from South Australian businesses to explore global markets,” Hamilton-Smith said.

“Under the Export Partnership Program, current and aspiring exporters can apply for funding up to $50,000 to pursue international market development.

“The 12 successful recipients will use this funding to grow their knowledge and export capabilities through coaching, training, market intelligence, and also to execute planned activities overseas to market their products.

Hamilton-Smith said he expects the high level of interest in the program will continue and is likely to increase with an active calendar of ministerial trade missions in 2015.

“The government will lead business missions to India and South East Asia during August where we’ll be accompanied by a number of South Australian sectors looking to build their presence in these important markets,” Hamilton-Smith said.

“This is part of a targeted strategy by the South Australian Government to support exporters through facilitation services, diplomacy, awareness raising and critical funding to address the cost of export marketing activities.”

“A number of sectors stand to benefit from the new grants, including aerospace, creative industries, food and wine and services.

“Markets being pursued for a diverse range of proposed activities include China, India, South East Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.”

Round one recipients                                                                              Funding awarded

AEM Cores Pty Ltd                                                                                    $31,000

Barossa Vintage Pty Ltd                                                                             $31,000

Elderton Wines                                                                                          $31,225

Ezy-Fit Hydraulics                                                                                      $30,000

Ferguson Australia Pty Ltd                                                                         $50,000

Kilikanoon Wines Pty Ltd                                                                            $27,475

MacTaggart Scott Pty Ltd                                                                            $6,000

Pindarie Wines                                                                                          $30,075

Prism Defence                                                                                           $14,500

Rossi Boots                                                                                               $50,000

Saltbush Livestock Pty Ltd                                                                         $24,500

SEAPA Pty Ltd                                                                                           $18,050


Applications for $20 million grants program in Victoria opens

Applications for a four year, $20 million grants and scholarship program are now open to Victorian agri-food producers and manufacturers.

The grants and scholarships, provided by Food Source Victoria are aimed at helping increase exports, build capability and create jobs in regional Victoria.

Executive Director of Trade and Investment, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Tim Ada said the world’s middle class was growing rapidly, particularly in Asia and Victorian farmers and food manufacturers are well placed to meet the demand for quality, clean and safe products.

“Food and agriculture exports were worth $11.4 billion in 2013-14, however exporting is sometimes challenging and it can be difficult for agri-food businesses to not only access international markets but to keep abreast of consumer trends and requirements,” Ada said.

“Through Food Source Victoria, $18 million in grants is available to support agri-food businesses across regional Victoria to work together, potentially implementing a diverse range of activities and projects to overcome some of these challenges and drive exports and jobs growth.”

“An additional $2 million is available to help regional Victorians working in the agri-food sector to enhance their entrepreneurial, business and export skills, through accredited training and/or professional development, to help accelerate business growth.”

Mr Ada said at least $1 million of the scholarship fund had been allocated to support women in regional Victoria to develop their skills and capabilities.

Program guidelines (including eligibility criteria) and application forms are available here.

Food Source Victoria is funded through the Victorian Government’s $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund and is managed by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.


Bega Cheese wins manufacturing grant

19 successful applicants for the first round of the Manufacturing Transition Program were awarded nearly $50 million yesterday.

The applicants come from a range of different industries, including food and beverage, mining, aerospace and medical technologies, and receive up to 25 per cent of costs to co-invest in new capital equipment and plant improvements.

There were $48,139,024 worth of of funds allocated for projects worth $254,456,429, which supported “high-value” manufacturing.

A joint statement from industry minister Ian Macfarlane and prime minister Tony Abbott yesterday said the grants were in line with an election pledge to focus on “areas of competitive strength”.

“Bega Cheese will be able to invest in more sophisticated and knowledge-intensive manufacturing, creating high value jobs in areas where the greatest economic opportunities exist,” said Eden Monaro MP Peter Hendy, according to Bega District News.

Bega’s project involved investment in new equipment to increase the production of lactoferrin from milk solids.

Hearing implant maker Cochlear will use its $3.25 million grant to “bring back manufacturing capability on-shore for its next-generation hearing implants” through upgrades at three sites.

Other successful applicants in the competitive grants programme included Ferra Engineering, Mulgowie Fresh, and Nissan Casting Australia. There were 79 applicants.

To see the full list of recipients, click here.


Tasmanian businesses benefiting from Federal Government funding

Tasmanian businesses have received $13 million in grants from the Innovation and Investment Fund as part of the Federal Government’s strategy to bolster local industry.

When added to the $27 million in investment by local businesses, the grants will inject $40 million into the Tasmanian economy and create more than 400 new jobs.

“Forty one businesses across the State will receive from $50,000 to $1.4 million to strengthen their operations, making them more competitive by investing in technology, modernisation and building capacity,” Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane (pictured) said in a statement.

Macfarlane and local MPs Eric Hutchinson and Andrew Nikolic visited some of these businesses yesterday.

One of them, GJ Engineering Pty Ltd will receive $86,738 towards a $173,476 new vertical lathe to diversify and increase the capacity of their production-run machine parts manufacturing plant and general engineering service. This project will create five new ongoing positions.

"GJ's are going to be able to bring in a new piece of equipment, which they've been wanting to buy for some time, but with this grant they're now able to buy it sooner and able to put on two extra people, fully qualified tradespeople," Macfarlane said.

GJ Engineering’s owner Graeme Howard told the ABC it would mean the project would be started and completed sooner.

"I would have done it anyway, but what the grant will achieve is we'll be able to do it a lot sooner," he said.

"So we're starting now, where I probably wouldn't have started looking at this for another year or so.

"This has given me the opportunity to bring all my plans forward by at least 12 months, if not longer."

George Town Seafoods has also been successful with $420,000 towards a $1.3 million project to expand its salmon processing facility, creating an estimated 14 new jobs.

And National Pies in Hobart will receive $695,000 to purchase freezing equipment and manufacturing, supporting access to wider markets. The $1.8 million project will create 12 ongoing jobs.