Australia’s largest bus body manufacturer Volgren provided the perfect backdrop yesterday for the Morrison Government to announce funding for a Melbourne export hub designed to help small and medium businesses make their mark overseas.

The announcement means that Wantirna’s Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited will receive $1.5 million from the Coalition‘s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Export Hubs Initiative.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the funding will boost the economy by getting more businesses access to new and bigger markets, to increase sales and create more Australian jobs.

“The funding for this hub is integral to helping Australian businesses grow and will ultimately increase local and regional job opportunities in Victoria,” Minister Andrews said.

“The Coalition is committed to supporting small and medium businesses through the SME Export Hubs Initiative and other successful programs like the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and Industry Growth Centres initiative.

“Export hubs will be expected to develop export strategies based on local strengths, which in turn will align with the national strategies and networks of the Growth Centres.

The SME Export Hubs Initiative will fund the Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited to provide the Rail Haulage Supply Chain Export Hub.

Speaking at the funding announcement, Chief Executive Officer of Volgren, Peter Dale said a strong supply chain of SMEs is a critical factor to become globally competitive.

“Over the past four decades, Volgren has become part of a robust south-east Melbourne manufacturing and mass transport supply community. We see our supply chain of around 50 SMEs as an extension of our business, and as a fundamental part of what makes us globally competitive.”

“Today’s announcement by Minister Karen Andrews MP is an important initiative to improve the competitiveness and capability of Australia’s supply chain and create meaningful opportunities for SMEs to develop globally competitive solutions and access global market markets.”

“That creates an environment for companies to compete globally, invest in jobs, local engineering and advanced manufacturing techniques,” Peter said.

 The export hubs operate in six key industry sectors of competitive strength and strategic priority identified under the Coalition Government’s Industry Growth Centres initiative. These sectors were identified as having strong prospects for creating future economic and jobs growth for the nation.

For more information on the SME Export Hubs Initiative, visit www.business.gov.au/SMEEH