Grants to boost innovation and industry in Geelong region

19 Nov 2015 Media release

Geelong businesses are set to benefit from grants totalling $11.2 million which will create 145 jobs and boost investment by $44 million across the region.

The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, and the Victorian Minister for Industry, Lily D’Ambrosio, today announced the successful applicants in the third round of the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund.

“The Geelong region has faced more than its share of challenges but its ability to innovate, create new products and demonstrate its capabilities to the world is evident in the grants we announce today,” Mr Pyne said.

One recipient company Jeff Sykes & Associates will work with researchers to design and build new technologies to manufacture rowing equipment used by the world’s elite athletes. By establishing an advanced engineering facility, the project will create 11 new roles for engineers and production staff as the business pursues international markets.

“It is great to see this business placing a strong emphasis on science and innovation in its product development and manufacturing processes. This approach will benefit advanced manufacturing in the region as well as our athletes,” Mr Pyne said.

Ms D’Ambrosio said she was impressed by the variety of projects and paid tribute to the resilience of businesses in seeking new market opportunities.

Another grant recipient, Air-Radiators Pty Ltd, is expanding opportunities for aluminium heat exchangers to be used to cool engines operating in harsh or isolated environments such as off-highway trucks, power stations and rail locomotive services.

“This grant will enable Air-Radiators to employ 30 new staff and use specialised production equipment to meet the needs of diverse industries operating in Australia, USA and the Asia-Pacific region,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

The Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund is a $29.5 million package developed by the Australian and Victorian Governments and Ford Australia in response to Ford’s announcement that it will cease local production in 2016.

The Fund was expanded in 2014 by a $5 million contribution from Alcoa Australia to support Geelong workers, businesses and communities affected by its decision to close the Port Henry aluminium smelter.

“Ford Australia is proud to be a GRIIF contributor and to see the Fund support new business investment and innovation that will create new, sustainable jobs,” Graeme Whickman, President and CEO of Ford Australia said. “This is an important element of Ford Australia’s commitment to support local communities that may be affected by our business changes.”

With previous grants of more than $17 million and total project investment of over $100 million, the Fund is already supporting the Geelong region to create 686 jobs.

“Alcoa is pleased that the Fund continues to enable businesses to grow, innovate and capture new markets and create employment for the region,” Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker said.

For more information visit – Projects Supported

Grant Recipient

Grant Amount

Total Project Investment

Proposed new full-time equivalent jobs

Project Description

Air-Radiators Pty Ltd




Establishment of a purpose built facility to manufacture large, industrial aluminium heat exchangers.

Associated Kiln Driers Pty Ltd t/a AKD Softwoods




The project will install the latest sawmilling technology and upgrade the dry mill, which will improve productivity and recovery, ensuring international competitiveness.

Caronlab Australia Pty Ltd




Purchase and installation of wax beading machine and cosmetic cream line as part of export growth initiative

The Edge Glass (Aust) Pty Ltd




The project will introduce a new CNC vertical machine centre and other equipment to increase quality, accuracy, throughput and product range.

Jeff Sykes & Associates Pty Ltd




The project will establish an advanced engineering facility to manufacture rowing equipment by adopting new technology, expanding capability, targeting international markets and exploring new commercial opportunities.

Irrewarra Estate Pty Ltd ATF Irrewarra Estate Trust




The project involves the expansion of natural food manufacturing, including granola products through investment in innovative equipment and technology and internal plant for increased production.

M.C. Herd Proprietary Limited




The project involves the construction and commissioning of a semi-automated stock cutting room to meet specialist and specific domestic and export demand for meat products.