Initiative to boost jobs

25 Apr 2018 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Sophie Boyd WODONGAS new manufacturing cluster, open to 15 businesses, will allow industry players and small to medium-sized enterprises to grow, with the flow-on effects set to boost the citys wider economy. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes and Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah announced Wodonga and Wangaratta were chosen as two of 10 regional clusters set to benefit from $5 million investment in the scheme over two years. Mr Farrah said the collaboration and expert support offered to businesses within the cluster, could produce more jobs across the region. Were hoping it will drive competitiveness, when you make a business more competitive, it grows, sells more product and needs to employ more people, he said. When businesses grow theres also a huge flow-on effect not just in terms of employment but what the business is buying in the local community, so it has a large multiplier effect. Mr Farrah said the cluster, which has not been filled yet, would consist of five large manufacturers and 10 small to medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs dont have these sorts of resources or knowledge internally so this program will be bringing external help and experts in commercialisation that will really speed up that process, make it more affordable and reduce a lot of the risk in bringing innovation to the market, he said. Mr Farrah said by ensuring SMEs were performing at their best, the region would be tapping into a hotbed of opportunity. If were looking for areas within our economy where we can find some gold to really grow SME manufactures are it, he said. Mr Farrah said the $5 million investment in the project delivered over two years, would be split among the 10 participating clusters. He said the beauty of the project would be that businesses could tap into a vast network of knowledge across the state to help resolve issues. Ms Symes said the cluster would help boost productivity and create jobs. Sometimes businesses need extra support to grow, the Wodonga Manufacturing Cluster will bring businesses together to learn from each other and to address key barriers, and give them the skills they need to position them for success, she said. The project will begin on July 1. Caption Text: ECONOMIC GROWTH: Jaclyn Symes announced $5 million over two years to support the creation of manufacturing clusters across the state.Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.