KPMG Australia welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources’ National Reconstruction Fund consultation (the consultation).

Supporting the National Reconstruction Fund

KPMG supports the establishment of the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) and its seven priority funding areas. Investment at this scale is a welcome move to provide a much-needed boost to Australia’s innovation ecosystem, and support outcomes that will help underpin the nation’s economic, social, and environmental prosperity. Future sustainability and resilience should be key concepts.

Building Australian sovereign capability

The introduction of the NRF can play a significant and critical role in de-risking ideas and opportunities across Australia’s innovation system and building Australia’s sovereign capability and international competitiveness to ensure Australia is well-prepared to maintain its prosperity in an increasingly volatile global geopolitical context.

Enabling infrastructure across sectors

While $8 billion of funding has been notionally allocated, KPMG considers that the balance of funding should be earmarked for enabling infrastructure that is not sector specific, but benefits all seven sectors. For instance, there are a number of industries (i.e. space) that are not specifically defined as priority areas, which should be recognised as enabling infrastructure and encompassing special technologies that provide far broader benefits.

Developing the right funding models

KPMG has limited its comments to key questions within this submission and would welcome further engagement on this issue. We believe that developing the right funding models, especially those with integrity and which will provide the most value to industry and government will take time and must be done with care. As such, we urge the government to consult widely on the NRF and develop robust mechanisms to ensure the integrity and long-term viability of the programs within it.