Morrison wants to develop a national plan to address local chip shortage

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to invest AU$15 million to support supply chain monitoring.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Australian government will devote AU$324 million to expanding the supply chain resilience initiative (SCRI) if it is re-elected at the upcoming May 21 federal election.

He outlined that AU$15 million of the total will be used to support supply chain monitoring. This would including AU$4.3 million to enhance the CSIRO transport network strategic investment tool to model domestic transport supply chains, AU$10 million for mapping and monitoring critical supply chains to proactively identify vulnerabilities before they arise, while AU$1.3 million would be used to commission the chief scientist to develop a national plan for semiconductors to address current and future supply. 

Read: Intel CEO expects chip shortage to last until at least 2024

At the same time, AU$27.3 million will be handed out to 18 successful semiconductor and water treatment chemicals projects under round two of the SCRI grants.

"Securing our supply chains is a fundamental part of keeping Australia stronger and more secure," Morrison said.

"The strength of our supply chains matter because they affect every single part of our economy."

On Friday, the Labor party announced another election promise to set up a critical technologies fund to deliver AU$1 billion in investment support through loans, equity, and guarantees for business in technology areas including quantum computing, AI, robotics, and software development.

The move is part of the Labor party's aim to "work with industry to deliver 1.2 million tech jobs to 2030".

"Our AU$1 billion Critical Technologies Fund is an investment in building strategic industry capability in Australia, powering future economic growth, growing jobs -- and avoiding a brain drain that is sapping our country of vital talent," Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation Ed Husic said.

Other items that have been on the agenda between the two major political parties during their six-week federal election campaigns have also included a robo-debt Royal Commission, expanding eSafety capabilities, passing anti-trolling laws, and closing the multinational tax avoidance loophole.

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