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  • Victorian Government to Invest $50 million in MRNA

    Victoria will provide $50 million to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Melbourne, through partnerships with our world-class Victorian universities, leading researchers, and Australian and international manufacturing companies.

  • The Alice Anderson Fund

    LaunchVic is helping grow the Victorian startup sector with the Alice Anderson Fund (TAAF), a $10 million ‘Sidecar’ fund that co-invests in women-led early-stage startups. The fund is named in memory of Alice Anderson, a pioneering mechanic and entrepreneur who founded Australia’s first all-women motor garage in Kew in 1919.

  • Fight Like Maddie

    We’re supporting Maddie Riewoldt's Vision in its mission to better understand bone marrow failure syndromes and one day find a cure through clinical research and the establishment of the Australian Marrow Failure Biobank.

  • Research Boost To Better Understand And Treat Coronavirus

    The Victorian Government is backing cutting-edge medical research projects to better understand, prevent and treat coronavirus.

  • Victorian Government to Invest $50 million in MRNA

    Victoria will provide $50 million to establish mRNA vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing in Melbourne, through partnerships with our world-class Victorian universities, leading researchers, and Australian and international manufacturing companies.

Media Centre

New Innovation Plan Making A Bold Statement

A bold new agenda to keep Victoria at the forefront of innovation, drive the creation of new industries and support jobs for future generations has been unveiled by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today launched the Innovation Statement detailing the plans and investments to propel the state forward. The ambitious plan builds on existing commitments with a new blueprint to turbocharge Victoria’s startup ecosystem, grow business and innovation precincts, develop homegrown talent, and commercialise world-leading research – keeping Victoria at the cutting edge. Front and centre of the agenda is the landmark $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, which will bridge the gap between discovery and commercialisation, mobilise innovation in key areas such as health and life sciences, agri-food, advanced manufacturing, clean economy and digital technologies. Health and medical research is another focus with investments totalling $590 million committed in the past year alone, including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics, and an additional $50 million to spearhead local manufacturing of mRNA vaccines. The Labor Government is fostering the big ideas of entrepreneurs and supporting home-grown startups to scale up while also building a robust investor landscape to help more Victorian innovators take their ideas global. The state’s startup agency, LaunchVic, is leading the way with programs such as the the $10 million Alice Anderson Fund helping female founders access early-stage funding, and the $60.5 million Victorian Startup Capital Fundinjecting more money into local startups. The Government’s significant investment is building Victoria’s innovation capabilities, increasing competitiveness and attracting national and international investors. Priority initiatives like the $64 million Digital Jobs program are addressing the digital skills shortage by training mid-career Victorians for in-demand digital roles, while the $550 million Connecting Victoria program is helping businesses take advantage of digital opportunities with reliable, better value broadband across the state. The Innovation Statement showcases Victoria’s impressive history of class-leading innovations and modern inventions making their mark around the world, and celebrates and elevates stories from across the Victorian innovation community. To find out more and access a copy of the Innovation Statement, visit vic.gov.au/innovation. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Victoria is ahead of the curve and there’s no slowing down, which is why we must support our innovation ecosystem and continue to make game-changing advancements in science, health and medicine, and technology.” “Our new innovation agenda is a commitment to ensure the next generation of Victorians have all they need for the jobs of tomorrow.”

New Innovation Plan Making A Bold Statement

A bold new agenda to keep Victoria at the forefront of innovation, drive the creation of new industries and support jobs for future generations has been unveiled by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today launched the Innovation Statement detailing the plans and investments to propel the state forward. The ambitious plan builds on existing commitments with a new blueprint to turbocharge Victoria’s startup ecosystem, grow business and innovation precincts, develop homegrown talent, and commercialise world-leading research – keeping Victoria at the cutting edge. Front and centre of the agenda is the landmark $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, which will bridge the gap between discovery and commercialisation, mobilise innovation in key areas such as health and life sciences, agri-food, advanced manufacturing, clean economy and digital technologies. Health and medical research is another focus with investments totalling $590 million committed in the past year alone, including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics, and an additional $50 million to spearhead local manufacturing of mRNA vaccines. The Labor Government is fostering the big ideas of entrepreneurs and supporting home-grown startups to scale up while also building a robust investor landscape to help more Victorian innovators take their ideas global. The state’s startup agency, LaunchVic, is leading the way with programs such as the the $10 million Alice Anderson Fund helping female founders access early-stage funding, and the $60.5 million Victorian Startup Capital Fundinjecting more money into local startups. The Government’s significant investment is building Victoria’s innovation capabilities, increasing competitiveness and attracting national and international investors. Priority initiatives like the $64 million Digital Jobs program are addressing the digital skills shortage by training mid-career Victorians for in-demand digital roles, while the $550 million Connecting Victoria program is helping businesses take advantage of digital opportunities with reliable, better value broadband across the state. The Innovation Statement showcases Victoria’s impressive history of class-leading innovations and modern inventions making their mark around the world, and celebrates and elevates stories from across the Victorian innovation community. To find out more and access a copy of the Innovation Statement, visit vic.gov.au/innovation. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Victoria is ahead of the curve and there’s no slowing down, which is why we must support our innovation ecosystem and continue to make game-changing advancements in science, health and medicine, and technology.” “Our new innovation agenda is a commitment to ensure the next generation of Victorians have all they need for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Backing Victorian Women In mRNA And Medical Research

Women-led medical research will be prioritised by the Andrews Labor Government in its investment in a new RNA research acceleration fund and the next phase of a successful medical research fund. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today unveiled the new mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fundand the 2021 round of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, with combined funding of $5 million. The mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fund will provide $2 million to fast-track RNA-based therapeutics research. RNA technology has created a new frontier for vaccine development and the fund will support Victoria’s researchers who lead the nation in mRNA capability. Both funds will provide extra weighting for grant applications received by women-led projects and those in which women make up at least half of the research team. Around one-third of Australian medical research funding is awarded to projects led by women and while women make up 75 per cent of early-stage researchers in Australia, only 25 per cent of professors are women. Professor Angela Morgan, the recipient of a grant through the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, is one of many women leading the way, producing a world-first treatment tool for speech disorders in children and adolescents. Based at the Speech and Language group at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Professor Morgan and her team are revolutionising how speech therapy is diagnosed with the ADAAPT tool. The digital assesment and treatment planning tool diagnoses and treats all subtypes of speech disorders and is already helping children like six-year-old Oliver Howell who suffers from a rare condition known as childhood apraxia of speech. Following his succesful diagnosis, Ollie is receiving targeted therapy to help treat his condition. Now in its fifth year, the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund has supported some 69 health and medical research projects to a total value of $11.9 million, with matched contributions of $18 million by the applicants. In the past year, the Labor Government has invested more than $590 million in medical research – including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics. Applications are now open and for more details on both funds, visit djpr.vic.gov.au/acceleration-fund. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Women are playing a leading role in advancing medical technology and these grants can make a critical difference in increasing the number of women able to do outstanding work.” “More funding for mRNA research will allow us to build on our nation-leading capability, enabling Victorian researchers to lead the development of new applications and drive breakthroughs that change and save lives.” Quote attributable to Women in Science Parkville Precinct Executive Committee Member Professor Sarah Russell “Prioritising women in research leadership is an important step to addressimbalances in medical research and ensure we have more diversity leading Victoria’s next wave of medical breakthroughs.”

Backing Victorian Women In mRNA And Medical Research

Women-led medical research will be prioritised by the Andrews Labor Government in its investment in a new RNA research acceleration fund and the next phase of a successful medical research fund. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today unveiled the new mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fundand the 2021 round of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, with combined funding of $5 million. The mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration Fund will provide $2 million to fast-track RNA-based therapeutics research. RNA technology has created a new frontier for vaccine development and the fund will support Victoria’s researchers who lead the nation in mRNA capability. Both funds will provide extra weighting for grant applications received by women-led projects and those in which women make up at least half of the research team. Around one-third of Australian medical research funding is awarded to projects led by women and while women make up 75 per cent of early-stage researchers in Australia, only 25 per cent of professors are women. Professor Angela Morgan, the recipient of a grant through the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, is one of many women leading the way, producing a world-first treatment tool for speech disorders in children and adolescents. Based at the Speech and Language group at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Professor Morgan and her team are revolutionising how speech therapy is diagnosed with the ADAAPT tool. The digital assesment and treatment planning tool diagnoses and treats all subtypes of speech disorders and is already helping children like six-year-old Oliver Howell who suffers from a rare condition known as childhood apraxia of speech. Following his succesful diagnosis, Ollie is receiving targeted therapy to help treat his condition. Now in its fifth year, the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund has supported some 69 health and medical research projects to a total value of $11.9 million, with matched contributions of $18 million by the applicants. In the past year, the Labor Government has invested more than $590 million in medical research – including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics. Applications are now open and for more details on both funds, visit djpr.vic.gov.au/acceleration-fund. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Women are playing a leading role in advancing medical technology and these grants can make a critical difference in increasing the number of women able to do outstanding work.” “More funding for mRNA research will allow us to build on our nation-leading capability, enabling Victorian researchers to lead the development of new applications and drive breakthroughs that change and save lives.” Quote attributable to Women in Science Parkville Precinct Executive Committee Member Professor Sarah Russell “Prioritising women in research leadership is an important step to addressimbalances in medical research and ensure we have more diversity leading Victoria’s next wave of medical breakthroughs.”

New World-Class Clinical Trial Facility For Geelong

Geelong is set to host human clinical trials for ground-breaking medical research and to speed up the development of new treatments, backed by support from the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today welcomed confirmation that Australia’s largest clinical trials provider, Nucleus Network, has opened its first satellite clinic and is recruiting trial participants in Geelong. Established in 2004 by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute with an $8 million Victorian Government investment, Nucleus Network has grown to become a highly successful company with global impact. The Geelong world-class clinical trial facility will give regional residents the opportunity to attend appointments locally to determine their eligibility for a study — as well as allowing convenient post-study follow-up visits. The clinic is conducting trials including a treatment for central nervous system diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and CNS lymphoma and a potential new treatment for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Nucleus Network also has facilities in Melbourne, Brisbane and Minneapolis in the United States, and runs clinical trials for some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world including US-based biotechnology company, Novavax, for which it ran COVID-19 vaccine trials in Australia earlier this year. Clinical trials held in Victoria contribute more than $300 million annually to the state’s economy. In the past year, the Government has invested more than $590 million in medical research – including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “New treatments would not be possible without clinical trials and Nucleus Network is one of our best international success stories – accelerating the translation of research into health outcomes that change and save lives.” “Clinical trials are critically important for patients and the opening of this new facility in Geelong is boosting Victoria’s reputation as a sought-after location for medical research.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “I’m proud that the development of treatments, that will help so many people, will be occurring at this new clinic right here in Geelong.” Quote attributable to Nucleus Network Chief Operating Officer Charlotte Hall “Through our new satellite clinic, we will be able to reach even more people and cement our position as a key partner to some of the industry’s largest and most respected clients in the sector, which is great for Australia and Victoria.”

New World-Class Clinical Trial Facility For Geelong

Geelong is set to host human clinical trials for ground-breaking medical research and to speed up the development of new treatments, backed by support from the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today welcomed confirmation that Australia’s largest clinical trials provider, Nucleus Network, has opened its first satellite clinic and is recruiting trial participants in Geelong. Established in 2004 by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute with an $8 million Victorian Government investment, Nucleus Network has grown to become a highly successful company with global impact. The Geelong world-class clinical trial facility will give regional residents the opportunity to attend appointments locally to determine their eligibility for a study — as well as allowing convenient post-study follow-up visits. The clinic is conducting trials including a treatment for central nervous system diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and CNS lymphoma and a potential new treatment for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Nucleus Network also has facilities in Melbourne, Brisbane and Minneapolis in the United States, and runs clinical trials for some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world including US-based biotechnology company, Novavax, for which it ran COVID-19 vaccine trials in Australia earlier this year. Clinical trials held in Victoria contribute more than $300 million annually to the state’s economy. In the past year, the Government has invested more than $590 million in medical research – including up to $400 million for a new Australian Institute of Infectious Disease to lead the fight against future pandemics. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “New treatments would not be possible without clinical trials and Nucleus Network is one of our best international success stories – accelerating the translation of research into health outcomes that change and save lives.” “Clinical trials are critically important for patients and the opening of this new facility in Geelong is boosting Victoria’s reputation as a sought-after location for medical research.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “I’m proud that the development of treatments, that will help so many people, will be occurring at this new clinic right here in Geelong.” Quote attributable to Nucleus Network Chief Operating Officer Charlotte Hall “Through our new satellite clinic, we will be able to reach even more people and cement our position as a key partner to some of the industry’s largest and most respected clients in the sector, which is great for Australia and Victoria.”

Ginkgo To Help Victoria Grow mRNA Vaccine Capabilities

World-leading synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks will establish an office in Melbourne, bolstering Victoria’s position as the national leader in mRNA research and manufacturing. A partnership with the Victorian Government has enabled the move, in what is hoped to be the first step in future long-term business expansion within Australia. Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo has developed a cell engineering platform that can deliver breakthroughs to a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and food and agriculture, and is keen to tap into Victoria’s rich ecosystem of biomedical and manufacturing innovation. Ginkgo’s cell programming capabilities have supported innovations in diagnostics and vaccine design and manufacturing, as well as ongoing research and development of innovative products such as living medicines, therapeutic proteins, and gene and cell therapies. The company played a key role in the COVID-19 response and global biosecurity efforts, partnering with Moderna and Aldevron to apply its cell engineering expertise to optimise production of raw materials for making mRNA vaccine. The company has also established one of the largest nationwide COVID testing platforms in the United States and an Airport Biosurveillance Program in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The high-growth company has identified Victoria as a strong base for research into pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, mRNA development and biosecurity, presenting enormous potential for local R&D collaborations and improving the productivity of local industry through access to new technologies. Ginkgo’s biology platform infrastructure and expertise brings critical capability to Victoria’s biotech sector and adds significant momentum to the state’s rapidly growing biotechnology ecosystem. Ginkgo’s selection of Melbourne reflects with the nation’s most sophisticated and largest mRNA ecosystem and commercialisation capability. Through mRNA Victoria, the Government will continue to attract world leading biotech innovators to invest in Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “The establishment of GinkgoBioworks’ office in Melbourne demonstrates that Victoria is the home of scientific and research expertise in mRNA.” “This will provide access for local companies to access their cutting-edge technologies for the development of mRNA vaccines and other significant benefits to biosecurity and related industries.” Quotes attributable to Ginkgo Bioworks Chief Commercial Officer Matt McKnight “Melbourne is one of the leading biomedical research communities in the world. We have to forge international collaborations like this because, as we have all learned, biology doesn’t respect borders. We are incredibly excited to work with mRNA Victoria and hope to expand into the Australian market.” “We value the Victorian Government’s deep commitment to the mRNA ecosystem and related emerging technologies. With this support, Australia presents Ginkgo with a unique opportunity to bring our biosecurity and vaccine expertise to bear as we seek to detect, intercept, and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemic events.”

Ginkgo To Help Victoria Grow mRNA Vaccine Capabilities

World-leading synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks will establish an office in Melbourne, bolstering Victoria’s position as the national leader in mRNA research and manufacturing. A partnership with the Victorian Government has enabled the move, in what is hoped to be the first step in future long-term business expansion within Australia. Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo has developed a cell engineering platform that can deliver breakthroughs to a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and food and agriculture, and is keen to tap into Victoria’s rich ecosystem of biomedical and manufacturing innovation. Ginkgo’s cell programming capabilities have supported innovations in diagnostics and vaccine design and manufacturing, as well as ongoing research and development of innovative products such as living medicines, therapeutic proteins, and gene and cell therapies. The company played a key role in the COVID-19 response and global biosecurity efforts, partnering with Moderna and Aldevron to apply its cell engineering expertise to optimise production of raw materials for making mRNA vaccine. The company has also established one of the largest nationwide COVID testing platforms in the United States and an Airport Biosurveillance Program in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The high-growth company has identified Victoria as a strong base for research into pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, mRNA development and biosecurity, presenting enormous potential for local R&D collaborations and improving the productivity of local industry through access to new technologies. Ginkgo’s biology platform infrastructure and expertise brings critical capability to Victoria’s biotech sector and adds significant momentum to the state’s rapidly growing biotechnology ecosystem. Ginkgo’s selection of Melbourne reflects with the nation’s most sophisticated and largest mRNA ecosystem and commercialisation capability. Through mRNA Victoria, the Government will continue to attract world leading biotech innovators to invest in Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “The establishment of GinkgoBioworks’ office in Melbourne demonstrates that Victoria is the home of scientific and research expertise in mRNA.” “This will provide access for local companies to access their cutting-edge technologies for the development of mRNA vaccines and other significant benefits to biosecurity and related industries.” Quotes attributable to Ginkgo Bioworks Chief Commercial Officer Matt McKnight “Melbourne is one of the leading biomedical research communities in the world. We have to forge international collaborations like this because, as we have all learned, biology doesn’t respect borders. We are incredibly excited to work with mRNA Victoria and hope to expand into the Australian market.” “We value the Victorian Government’s deep commitment to the mRNA ecosystem and related emerging technologies. With this support, Australia presents Ginkgo with a unique opportunity to bring our biosecurity and vaccine expertise to bear as we seek to detect, intercept, and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemic events.”

 

Mentoring Helps Businesses Grappling With Future Choices

A Melbourne-based Mexican wrestling and performance business is back in the ring and ready to take its operation to the next level, one of thousands of businesses to have benefitted from a free statewide mentoring program. The Andrews Labor Government’s $12 million Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program has provided more than 9,000 individual sessions for 3,000 small businesses, including Mexican wrestling business Lucha Fantastica. Lucha Fantastica owner Victor Diaz signed up for the program, which offers four two-hour sessions with a professional business mentor, after public health restrictions during forced a rethink of his operations. With support and strategic advice from his mentor Jeff Webb, Mr Diaz explored a range of ways he could improve his business and broaden its offering, which has now expanded to include Mexican street food and drink, Mexican dancing and other entertainment. Run in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the program matches businesses from across the state with experienced mentors to provide independent advice on business goals, strategies and operations. Through the program, business owners work with their mentors to make informed decisions about the future of their business, including the development of business action plans, improving time management, identifying new opportunities and rethinking marketing strategies. Business Victoria offers a number of other programs for businesses to work on their professional development, including the popular Upskill My Businessprogram that provides free practical workshops and training through some of Victoria’s top education providers. For more information on support available for Victorian small businesses, go to business.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford “Small businesses and their customers have changed and this program has been a great success in allowing business owners the chance to step back and really consider their strategy and options.” “Having the benefit of a second set of eyes can be invaluable and we’re thrilled the program has been so successful.” Quote attributable to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra “I have been overwhelmed by the correspondence and phone calls I’ve had from businesses about the impact it has had on helping them to get through the pandemic and respond to evolving consumer needs and appetites.” Quote attributable to Lucha Fantastica owner Victor Diaz “The Recovery and Resilience Mentoring program was a key element for Lucha Fantastica’s business plan and a reminder that any crisis is just temporary, good times are coming and we are ready!” Quote attributable to JNW Strategic Consulting Managing Director Jeff Webb “We worked with Victor to explore opportunities, and excitingly, he now has established Fantastica Events – an organisation that offers Mexican street food and drink, authentic Mexican entertainment and Mexican dancing.”

Mentoring Helps Businesses Grappling With Future Choices

A Melbourne-based Mexican wrestling and performance business is back in the ring and ready to take its operation to the next level, one of thousands of businesses to have benefitted from a free statewide mentoring program. The Andrews Labor Government’s $12 million Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program has provided more than 9,000 individual sessions for 3,000 small businesses, including Mexican wrestling business Lucha Fantastica. Lucha Fantastica owner Victor Diaz signed up for the program, which offers four two-hour sessions with a professional business mentor, after public health restrictions during forced a rethink of his operations. With support and strategic advice from his mentor Jeff Webb, Mr Diaz explored a range of ways he could improve his business and broaden its offering, which has now expanded to include Mexican street food and drink, Mexican dancing and other entertainment. Run in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the program matches businesses from across the state with experienced mentors to provide independent advice on business goals, strategies and operations. Through the program, business owners work with their mentors to make informed decisions about the future of their business, including the development of business action plans, improving time management, identifying new opportunities and rethinking marketing strategies. Business Victoria offers a number of other programs for businesses to work on their professional development, including the popular Upskill My Businessprogram that provides free practical workshops and training through some of Victoria’s top education providers. For more information on support available for Victorian small businesses, go to business.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford “Small businesses and their customers have changed and this program has been a great success in allowing business owners the chance to step back and really consider their strategy and options.” “Having the benefit of a second set of eyes can be invaluable and we’re thrilled the program has been so successful.” Quote attributable to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Paul Guerra “I have been overwhelmed by the correspondence and phone calls I’ve had from businesses about the impact it has had on helping them to get through the pandemic and respond to evolving consumer needs and appetites.” Quote attributable to Lucha Fantastica owner Victor Diaz “The Recovery and Resilience Mentoring program was a key element for Lucha Fantastica’s business plan and a reminder that any crisis is just temporary, good times are coming and we are ready!” Quote attributable to JNW Strategic Consulting Managing Director Jeff Webb “We worked with Victor to explore opportunities, and excitingly, he now has established Fantastica Events – an organisation that offers Mexican street food and drink, authentic Mexican entertainment and Mexican dancing.”

Connected: Digital Hub, Then Free Wifi For Ararat, Lake Bolac

A new Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space is set to open in Ararat next week, backed by a critical Andrews Labor Government investment. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today visited the Hub that has been delivered in partnership with the Ararat Rural City Council through the Labor Government’s $3.5 million Regional Digital Fund which supports small-scale digital projects identified through the local Regional Partnership. The Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space will provide a central location for local businesses and individuals to better connect and collaborate. It comes as residents, visitors and local businesses in Ararat and Lake Bolac prepare to enjoy access to a world-class free WiFi network thanks to a Labor Government initiative to improve connectivity in regional Victoria. The Government’s $1.56 million investment will allow the Ararat Rural City Council to deliver the project in partnership with Telstra, building 48 WiFi hotspots to connect Ararat’s retail precinct, the Visitor Information Centre, the Ararat Active Corridor and Lake Bolac foreshore. Due to be complete in early 2022, the fibre and cellular WiFi connectivity will also give council the opportunity to fast-track more “smart city” services like visitor touch-on screens, CCTV and real-time updates on important road closures and emergency alerts. Ararat will also benefit from a trial of OpenRoaming technology in a partnership between Telstra and Cisco, which will allow users to seamlessly roam across cellular and WiFi networks. Free public Wi-Fi is a Labor Government election commitment being delivered to improve digital connectivity across regional Victoria. Since 2014, the Government has invested $130 million in connectivity projects to improve regional connectivity and strengthen the state’s economy, including free WiFi services. Through partnerships with industry and local councils, free WiFi services have been delivered in Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton to better connect regional Victorians. Work is currently underway to deliver free WiFi networks in Geelong and the Latrobe Valley. To find out more information, visit vic.gov.au/connectingvictoria. Quote attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Having access to the internet is important for everyone, no matter where they live or what they do, so I’m thrilled Ararat and Lake Bolac will soon have access to free WiFi hotspots at dozens of locations.” Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas “This project will benefit so many by improving visitor experiences, helping local businesses and farmers to access technology, and better connecting people to loved ones.” Quotes attributable to Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison “Ararat and Lake Bolac are going to be among the first communities in Australia to benefit from this world-first technology, amplifying opportunities for local investment and innovation.”

Connected: Digital Hub, Then Free Wifi For Ararat, Lake Bolac

A new Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space is set to open in Ararat next week, backed by a critical Andrews Labor Government investment. Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford today visited the Hub that has been delivered in partnership with the Ararat Rural City Council through the Labor Government’s $3.5 million Regional Digital Fund which supports small-scale digital projects identified through the local Regional Partnership. The Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space will provide a central location for local businesses and individuals to better connect and collaborate. It comes as residents, visitors and local businesses in Ararat and Lake Bolac prepare to enjoy access to a world-class free WiFi network thanks to a Labor Government initiative to improve connectivity in regional Victoria. The Government’s $1.56 million investment will allow the Ararat Rural City Council to deliver the project in partnership with Telstra, building 48 WiFi hotspots to connect Ararat’s retail precinct, the Visitor Information Centre, the Ararat Active Corridor and Lake Bolac foreshore. Due to be complete in early 2022, the fibre and cellular WiFi connectivity will also give council the opportunity to fast-track more “smart city” services like visitor touch-on screens, CCTV and real-time updates on important road closures and emergency alerts. Ararat will also benefit from a trial of OpenRoaming technology in a partnership between Telstra and Cisco, which will allow users to seamlessly roam across cellular and WiFi networks. Free public Wi-Fi is a Labor Government election commitment being delivered to improve digital connectivity across regional Victoria. Since 2014, the Government has invested $130 million in connectivity projects to improve regional connectivity and strengthen the state’s economy, including free WiFi services. Through partnerships with industry and local councils, free WiFi services have been delivered in Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton to better connect regional Victorians. Work is currently underway to deliver free WiFi networks in Geelong and the Latrobe Valley. To find out more information, visit vic.gov.au/connectingvictoria. Quote attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford “Having access to the internet is important for everyone, no matter where they live or what they do, so I’m thrilled Ararat and Lake Bolac will soon have access to free WiFi hotspots at dozens of locations.” Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas “This project will benefit so many by improving visitor experiences, helping local businesses and farmers to access technology, and better connecting people to loved ones.” Quotes attributable to Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison “Ararat and Lake Bolac are going to be among the first communities in Australia to benefit from this world-first technology, amplifying opportunities for local investment and innovation.”

Gold Growth Brings New Jobs And Benefits Across The State

Gold mining in Victoria is booming with production at levels not seen in more than a century, supporting jobs growth and business strength – and the impact has been especially stunning in Stawell. Minister for Resources Jaala Pulford today visited Stawell Gold Mine to see how the mine has proved a boon for the town and the Wimmera region. Operations at the Stawell Gold Mine ceased in 2016 but since reopening with new owners in 2018, it has gone from strength to strength with production growing and 300 local workers now on its books. Stawell Gold Mine’s return to production mirrors the rise of the sector statewide. In 2019-20 annual gold production in Victoria reached the highest yearly total since 1906, increasing by just on 40 per cent to almost 800,000 ounces. Ballarat’s Gekko Systems has been working with Stawell Gold Mine since its 2018 upgrade and the restart of production, providing innovative automatic processes to recover more gold – demonstrating the flow-on benefits the mine has had even beyond the Wimmera. Victoria’s gold sector is valued at $1.9 billion and the outlook remains positive with minerals exploration, the precursor to mining investment, growing in recent years. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows statewide minerals exploration expenditure increased to $183.8 million last financial year, up by more than 35 per cent. Released in August 2018, the Government’s five-year minerals strategy, State of Discovery, is on target to deliver on its goal of boosting total exploration investment spending to $220 million by mid-2023 with the aim to deliver at least one significant discovery by 2028. In October the Andrews Labor Government announced the outcome of the North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release tender, which could see more than $100 million invested across northern Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Jaala Pulford “Stawell Gold Mine’s resurgence has been stunning and that means hundreds of jobs for local workers and significant flow-on benefits for businesses across the Wimmera and beyond.” “The future of gold mining in the region looks bright with the next phase of exploration to commence soon, increasing the likelihood of finding even more gold.” Quote attributable toArete Capital Partners Chief Executive Campbell Olsen “We’re proud of what we have achieved here at Stawell and excited about future opportunities to grow further, not only at the Stawell Gold Mine, but also in the broader Stawell Gold Corridor.” Quote attributable toGekko Systems Chief Executive Elizabeth Lewis-Gray “It’s been great working with Stawell Gold Mine and other mining businesses across the state as we all grow together, creating high quality jobs and helping regional economies grow.”

Gold Growth Brings New Jobs And Benefits Across The State

Gold mining in Victoria is booming with production at levels not seen in more than a century, supporting jobs growth and business strength – and the impact has been especially stunning in Stawell. Minister for Resources Jaala Pulford today visited Stawell Gold Mine to see how the mine has proved a boon for the town and the Wimmera region. Operations at the Stawell Gold Mine ceased in 2016 but since reopening with new owners in 2018, it has gone from strength to strength with production growing and 300 local workers now on its books. Stawell Gold Mine’s return to production mirrors the rise of the sector statewide. In 2019-20 annual gold production in Victoria reached the highest yearly total since 1906, increasing by just on 40 per cent to almost 800,000 ounces. Ballarat’s Gekko Systems has been working with Stawell Gold Mine since its 2018 upgrade and the restart of production, providing innovative automatic processes to recover more gold – demonstrating the flow-on benefits the mine has had even beyond the Wimmera. Victoria’s gold sector is valued at $1.9 billion and the outlook remains positive with minerals exploration, the precursor to mining investment, growing in recent years. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows statewide minerals exploration expenditure increased to $183.8 million last financial year, up by more than 35 per cent. Released in August 2018, the Government’s five-year minerals strategy, State of Discovery, is on target to deliver on its goal of boosting total exploration investment spending to $220 million by mid-2023 with the aim to deliver at least one significant discovery by 2028. In October the Andrews Labor Government announced the outcome of the North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release tender, which could see more than $100 million invested across northern Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Jaala Pulford “Stawell Gold Mine’s resurgence has been stunning and that means hundreds of jobs for local workers and significant flow-on benefits for businesses across the Wimmera and beyond.” “The future of gold mining in the region looks bright with the next phase of exploration to commence soon, increasing the likelihood of finding even more gold.” Quote attributable toArete Capital Partners Chief Executive Campbell Olsen “We’re proud of what we have achieved here at Stawell and excited about future opportunities to grow further, not only at the Stawell Gold Mine, but also in the broader Stawell Gold Corridor.” Quote attributable toGekko Systems Chief Executive Elizabeth Lewis-Gray “It’s been great working with Stawell Gold Mine and other mining businesses across the state as we all grow together, creating high quality jobs and helping regional economies grow.”

Helping Victorian Startups Take The Next Step

The Victorian Government is backing young high-growth companies by helping investors understand how to invest and support early stage startups to scale. Victoria's startup agency LaunchVic will support 75 potential startup investors through one of Australia's leading investor education programs, to build angel investor capabilities and unlock more capital for Victorian founders. Delivered by the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship at the University of Melbourne, the immersive VC Catalyst course focuses on providing the next wave of venture investors with the knowledge, skills, confidence and networks to invest in early-stage startups. Since 2019 the program has supported more than 60 investors to unlock a collective $15 million in startup investment. The new participants will join the ranks of prominent alumni including Adore Beauty and Glow Capital Partners co-founder Kate Morris, who recently invested in Victorian breastpump startup Milkdrop and was an early backer of alternative funding provider Tractor Ventures, founded by fellow VC Catalyst graduates Aprill Allen and Jodie Imam. Ms Morris is one of a growing number of successful founders giving back to the economy through early-stage investments, including Paul Bassat, a co-founder of SEEK who now leads venture capital firm Square Peg and Airwallex co-founder Jack Zhang who in July launched venture capital fund Capital 49. Programs like VC Catalyst help to continue this cycle of startup creation, providing more high-skill jobs across the state. To learn more about the VC Catalyst program, visit wadeinstitute.org.au/vccatalyst. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford "The Victorian Government, alongside our startup agency LaunchVic, is backing our startups to drive economic growth and create jobs." "Early-stage investors play an essential role in the startup sector. They have been a driving force behind Australia's greatest global tech success stories including Afterpay, Airwallex and Culture Amp.” Quote attributable to VC Catalyst alumni and co-founder Adore Beauty and Glow Capital Partners Kate Morris “The program lives up to its name, in that it catalyses early stage investment by equipping investors with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective investors.” Quote attributable to LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick “Activating investors and ensuring they have the connections and know-how to make successful startup investments is one of the most powerful ways we can close the early-stage funding gap in Victoria.” Quote attributable to Wade Institute Director of Innovation and Enterprise Nick Kaye "We are thrilled to see our alumni already making extraordinary impact, and are proud to continue our partnership with LaunchVic to deliver the next generation of Victorian startup success stories."

Helping Victorian Startups Take The Next Step

The Victorian Government is backing young high-growth companies by helping investors understand how to invest and support early stage startups to scale. Victoria's startup agency LaunchVic will support 75 potential startup investors through one of Australia's leading investor education programs, to build angel investor capabilities and unlock more capital for Victorian founders. Delivered by the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship at the University of Melbourne, the immersive VC Catalyst course focuses on providing the next wave of venture investors with the knowledge, skills, confidence and networks to invest in early-stage startups. Since 2019 the program has supported more than 60 investors to unlock a collective $15 million in startup investment. The new participants will join the ranks of prominent alumni including Adore Beauty and Glow Capital Partners co-founder Kate Morris, who recently invested in Victorian breastpump startup Milkdrop and was an early backer of alternative funding provider Tractor Ventures, founded by fellow VC Catalyst graduates Aprill Allen and Jodie Imam. Ms Morris is one of a growing number of successful founders giving back to the economy through early-stage investments, including Paul Bassat, a co-founder of SEEK who now leads venture capital firm Square Peg and Airwallex co-founder Jack Zhang who in July launched venture capital fund Capital 49. Programs like VC Catalyst help to continue this cycle of startup creation, providing more high-skill jobs across the state. To learn more about the VC Catalyst program, visit wadeinstitute.org.au/vccatalyst. Quotes attributable to Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford "The Victorian Government, alongside our startup agency LaunchVic, is backing our startups to drive economic growth and create jobs." "Early-stage investors play an essential role in the startup sector. They have been a driving force behind Australia's greatest global tech success stories including Afterpay, Airwallex and Culture Amp.” Quote attributable to VC Catalyst alumni and co-founder Adore Beauty and Glow Capital Partners Kate Morris “The program lives up to its name, in that it catalyses early stage investment by equipping investors with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective investors.” Quote attributable to LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick “Activating investors and ensuring they have the connections and know-how to make successful startup investments is one of the most powerful ways we can close the early-stage funding gap in Victoria.” Quote attributable to Wade Institute Director of Innovation and Enterprise Nick Kaye "We are thrilled to see our alumni already making extraordinary impact, and are proud to continue our partnership with LaunchVic to deliver the next generation of Victorian startup success stories."