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The Clean Technology Investment Program provides grants to Australian businesses to invest in energy efficient capital equipment and low emission technologies, processes and products. $800m is available in grants over 7 years from 2011 – 12 to 2017 – 18 in respect of Australian manufacturing businesses. In addition there is $200m in grants available over 6 years from 2011 – 12 to 2016 – 17 in respect of food and foundries. Applications are open now and the program is delivered by Aus Industry. Some of the relevant details are as follows:

1. Grant assistance available

The grant is dependent on the size of the applicant's expenditure on the project and its turnover. The minimum grant amount you can apply for is $25,000; there is no maximum.

Grant Amount Annual Turnover of Applicant Applicant Spending to Grant Ratio
$25,000 – up to $500k <$100m Up to 1:1
$25,000 – up to $500k $100m or more Up to 2:1
$500k – up to $10m n/a Up to 2:1
>$10m n/a 3:1

(Note: Turnover applies to the financial year preceding the lodgment of an eligible application.)

2. Eligibility

To be eligible you must be:

a.) An eligible applicant, that is:

  • Undertaking manufacturing activities in Australia
  • Be a non tax-exempt corporation (incorporated in Australia)
  • Have met one or more prescribed energy or omissions thresholds in the previous 12 months (used as least 300mwh of electricity; or used at least 5 tera-joules of natural gas; or use a mix of fuels and/or electricity that results in omissions of least 0.27 kilo tunnes of CO2 equivalent – there is an energy threshold calculator within the AusIndustry website to determine whether you meet one of these thresholds).
  • Be able to meet the costs of the projects that will not be covered by the Grant (for Grants less than $500k an accountants certificate is required to confirm this).
  • Have complied with the obligations under the "Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Act 1999".
  • Have an eligible project involving eligible activities. The project must involve capital expenditure and must be made up of activities that put in place one or more energy efficient or omission reduction measures. These activities can occur 12 months before the project, during the project or within 5 months after the project. (Note pre - project costs are limited either 5% of the total project costs or $50k).

3. Merit Assessments

All eligible applicants are assessed against the following three merit criteria:

i) Extent of the reduction in carbon emissions intensity;

ii) Capacity and capability of the applicant to undertake the project;

iii) The extent to which the program maintains and improves the competitiveness of the applicants' businesses.

Applicants seeking grants of $1.5m or more will be assessed against a further criterion – the contribution of the proposed project to a competitive, low carbon, Australian manufacturing industry and the benefits to the broader Australian economy.

4. Assessment

AusIndustry will undertake an initial assessment to determine eligibility and completeness of the application. If the application is complete and eligible it then is referred to Innovation Australia which meets every 6 – 8 weeks. Applications for grants greater than $10m will also be referred to the Cabinet of the Australia Government for further consideration.

If successful an agreement is then put in place which details the timing milestones and payment schedule of the Grant. Grants are typically treated as assessable income for taxation purposes.

This article was published in the Winter 2012 Horizon. For a pdf version of the newsletter please click here.