Flinders University’s Factory of the Future facility in Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation District will receive $10.1 million in federal budget next week to ramp up advanced manufacturing support for small businesses and defense startups.
The announcement follows an election promise Labor made during the campaign in May.
Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic said the facility will partner with more than 200 small to medium-sized enterprises to build out their technology capabilities.
“We are delivering on our election commitment to support the factory of the future, supplied for Adelaide and local manufacturing. We want Australia to be a country that makes things, both now and in the future,” he said.
“The state-of-the-art facility will help develop a dedicated workforce to bridge the skills gaps in digital and advanced manufacturing technologies,” said Minister Husic.
The facility is co-funded by the South Australian government, which has already given $4 million, and Flinders University, with federal funding being allocated over three years.
The concept was developed by BAE Systems Maritime Australia and Flinders University with the aim of creating 4,000 jobs in five years and making Australia a top 10 global defense exporter. It brings together education, industry and government to facilitate the implementation of Industry 4.0, bridging the valley between R&D and innovation to boost the national economy.
The site gives companies access to key digital, robotic and other technologies, including an industrial-scale “testbed” where technology can be tested in a “real-world” environment.
Flinders University Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said more than 100 students a year will benefit from the project as it expands.
“The Factory of the Future is Australia’s first industrial-scale research and accelerator facility. The federal government’s support will help realize the Factory of the Future’s full potential to increase sovereign capacity through production growth, more jobs and stronger exports,” he said.
“In addition to visionary initiatives such as our Diploma of Digital Technologies to upskill the future workforce, it will strengthen the foundations for the revitalization of South Australia as an advanced manufacturing state.”
The South Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Dr. Susan Close, said the project will help South Australian companies access key defense programs and other manufacturing projects and enterprises.