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The Australian Government has awarded funding to six local small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to support their defence export capability.

The $837,000 total is part of the ‘Defence Global Competitiveness Grants’ programme.

The grants programme seeks to help eligible SMEs overcome barriers to exporting and invest in projects that help to build a ‘stronger and more globally competitive’ defence industry.

The companies are Laserdyne, Heat Treatment, Acacia Systems, Intellidesign, UNEEK and SMETEC Services.

Each of these six companies has benefitted from changes to the programme, which was launched by Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price last October in the wake of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

The changes to the programme increased the value of the grants and lowered the ‘co-contribution rate’ for companies.

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By GlobalData

Price said: “Supporting the export capability of Australian small-to-medium enterprises strengthens their international competitiveness and drives innovation.

“It allows them to provide cutting-edge and cost-effective capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.

“By investing in Australian businesses, the Morrison government is delivering on its promise to generate jobs for Australians as a vital part of our economic recovery from Covid-19.”

Victoria-based metal engineering business UNEEK will receive $216,389 to upgrade its manufacturing capability.

This grant will prepare the company to join international supply chains for the F-35 programme and bring more onshore production.

Heat Treatment, also part of the F-35 programme, will receive a $131,447 grant to establish a cleaning and assembly facility for F-35 aircraft’s components.

Meanwhile, SMETEC Services will use its $208,332 grant to launch an advanced manufacturing facility to process ‘specialised Australian armoured steels and composite products’.

Laserdyne will receive $180,125 to expand manufacturing operations to meet increasing global demand.

Grants of $40,944 and $59,908 will assist Acacia Systems and Intellidesign respectively in upgrading their security systems.