The new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, promised $100 million for a battery manufacturing precinct in regional Queensland if Labor were to win the election.
The ‘Australian Made Battery plan’ was announced in Gladstone, Queensland, where Albanese pointed to the funding to bolster Australian car manufacturing and new industries to access critical and rare earth minerals.
The plan includes:
- Partnering with the Queensland Government to create a Battery Manufacturing Precinct in Queensland, backed by a $100 million Commonwealth equity injection.
- Creating a Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre to provide advanced technology and skills development to businesses looking to locally manufacture renewable energy technologies.
- Supporting 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships, including around 2,000 expected in Queensland.
- Developing a National Battery Strategy to bring government and business efforts together for the long term good of the nation.
“For too long, Australians have wondered why we haven’t manufactured batteries onshore when we have one of the world’s largest deposits of critical minerals and rare earths,” Albanese said.
“Labor will create a Future Made in Australia. Australia should be a renewable energy powerhouse, not just a raw materials supermarket.”
The Labor government will also create a Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre,’ providing skills and training to local battery manufacturers.
“The resources sector has been the backbone of the Australian economy for decades. Developing Australia’s battery manufacturing capability is a step towards the potential for domestic electric vehicle manufacture,” he added. “Australia should be aggressively ambitious when it comes to battery manufacture. Labor is determined to see Australia realise more value of the supply chain. We’ve got the natural resources to become a renewable energy superpower.”
Shannon O’Rourke, Chief Executive Officer of the FBICRC said the announcement was an important step in the development of a domestic battery manufacturing capability.
The proposed funding and associated national battery strategy, reflected the key elements of the FBICRC’s pre-budget submission “Towards 2030 – Australia’s Battery Powered Future” submitted to Government in January.
“Today’s announcement is a welcome acknowledgement of the enormous battery opportunity currently facing Australia,” she said.
“For too long, our nation has been focused on the export of raw critical minerals, missing the opportunity a manufacturing industry can unlock. We are already the global leader in critical mineral exports and these next steps are well within our reach. Australia is blessed with an abundance of critical minerals which should be viewed not just as a mining opportunity, but a manufacturing opportunity. By shifting our mindset to invest with purpose and adopt courageous and visionary policies, we have the potential to unlock a significant economic prize of $7.4bn annually and more than 34,700 jobs by 2030.”
Labor kicked off their election campaign in Perth last week, where Albanese pledged a billion dollars to support Australia’s processing of raw battery materials in WA.
“Labor knows the value of resources jobs, and we are firmly focused on a bigger future for the industry. Thanks to Labor’s $1 billion Value-Adding in Resources Fund, we will capture more value from the resources sector here, and create more Australian jobs,” he said.
“In Australia, we have the people, skills and resources to make batteries right here. We have resources like with them, copper, nickel, all we do is we send those resources offshore.”