Innovation growth centres to boost businesses

FIVE new "innovation growth centres", focussed on mining, agribusiness, medicine and manufacturing, will be created next year as part of the Federal Government's new industry policy.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the new centres on Tuesday, saying some $188 million over five years would fund the centres to renew links between industry, science and start-up companies.

The centres, he said, were a key recommendation of his business advisory council and the peak lobby group Business Council of Australia, which welcomed the initiatives.

Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane said the centres would replace some "co-operative research centres" created by the Howard government.

He said the new "growth centres" would be led by industry and focus on helping small Australian businesses get new products and innovations to market, with help from the bigger end of town, but that government would have a minimal role in operating the centres.

Mr MacFarlane said the centres would aim to bring "Australian componentry" to the world market, rather than achieving complete manufacturing processes of new products, such as cars, as Australia could better compete by supplying parts.