Annual Grants Program for Australian SMEs

The federal government has launched its annual grants program for Australian small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in delivering the pipeline of projects enhancing the capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants program makes available a total of $17 million in grants per year to eligible Australian SMEs with fewer than 200 employees. A business can receive an unlimited number of grants over the life of the program, with a minimum value of $50,000 and the maximum value of $1 million and up to a total of $3 million over a three-year period.

Defence industry minister Steven Ciobo said that the grants will help SMEs meet up to 50 percent of eligible project costs including capital equipment, specialist software and security infrastructure, non-recurring engineering costs, design activities or enhancing workforce training and accreditation.

“The Liberal-National government is delivering the largest modernisation of the ADF since the Second World War, investing more than $200 billion in defence capability over the next decade,” Ciobo said.

The grants program is to support the government’s ten Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities for the ADF’s operational requirements, identified in the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

The 10 initial Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities are the following:

Collins Class Submarine maintenance and technology upgrade
Continuous Shipbuilding Program (including rolling submarine acquisition)
Land Combat Vehicle and technology upgrade
Enhanced Active and Passive Phased Array Radar Capability
Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
Advanced signal processing capability in Electronic Warfare, Cyber and Information Security, and Signature Management technologies and operations
Surveillance and intelligence data collection, analysis, dissemination and complex systems integration
Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance
Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture
Aerospace platform deep maintenance
“The plan concluded Australia’s defence industrial base is mostly composed of SMEs,” Ciobo said.

“This grants program aims to ensure Australian businesses have the capacity and resilience to support Defence’s most critical capabilities.”