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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

National Reconstruction Fund is ‘open for business’

Health Industry Hub | November 30, 2023 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) is now officially “open for business”, earmarking a substantial $1.5 billion towards the enhancement of medical manufacturing. The Finance Minister Senator Katy Gallagher and Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic MP formally signed and released the NRF Investment Mandate yesterday.

The primary objective of the National Reconstruction Fund Corporation is to channel increased financial streams into pivotal sectors of the Australian economy. The government has positioned the Corporation to spearhead a transformative agenda, fostering diversification within Australian industry, fostering the creation of jobs and bolstering sovereign capabilities. To achieve these ambitious goals, the Corporation is empowered to venture into various investment avenues encompassing loans, guarantees, and equity.

“This unlocks billions of dollars in investment finance to help rebuild Australia’s manufacturing capabilities,” said Minister Husic.

National Reconstruction Fund Chair Martijn Wilder said the fund, Labor’s primary vehicle to restart manufacturing, would be in the business of “picking winners”.

“Within any manufacturing process, there are multiple parts and there may be areas where Australia can excel at producing one component of that value chain, which we haven’t thought about yet. When you start looking at manufacturing in Australia – and you start looking at what we can do with the NRF – you can’t just think how it used to be – you’ve got to think about what are the opportunities for us going forward in this new economy,” Mr Wilder stated.

The NRF Investment Mandate stands as a framework through which the Commonwealth Government outlines its overarching expectations regarding the Corporation’s functions, investment strategies, and risk engagement. Mandating the NRF Corporation to operate with commercial acumen, stringent guidelines direct responsible investment practices and risk management, ensuring financial autonomy while targeting a portfolio benchmark return set between 2% and 3% above the prevailing five-year Australian government bond rate.

Demonstrating a commitment towards reshaping Australia’s industrial and economic landscape for the better, the NRF Investment Mandate lays down medium-to-long-term performance metrics. Additionally, a scheduled review of the portfolio benchmark return after three years from the Mandate’s commencement aims to guarantee its continued relevance and suitability.

Moreover, the NRF Corporation is empowered to consider higher-risk undertakings, especially in burgeoning technologies and industries, projects supporting Australia’s strategic interests (such as those reinforcing national security, sovereign capability, or supply chain resilience), or initiatives promising extended-term returns.

However, stringent checks and balances exist within the NRF Mandate. The Corporation is barred from acquiring a stake in an entity if doing so would either result in the Corporation and other Commonwealth entities collectively holding a majority of equity interests in the entity or attaining a position of control over said entity.

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