Government procurement, jobs and innovation: The potential of significant capital investment to enable long-term university-industry partnerships.

How to use policy levers to enable long-term university-industry partnerships leading to jobs and innovation.

Andrew Woolnough
State Government of Victoria

Genevive Reid
Deakin University

Chris Eves
State Government of Victoria

Background and Objectives
The Victorian Government is planning to undertake a once-in-generation investment in its metropolitan tram and train fleet to build a commuter transit system. The planning being undertaken now will determine the public transport future for the next 30 years.

The Victorian Government’s priorities for this investment are:
• product and service innovation in transport
• use of the local supply chain
• training and upskilling the workforce to meet the needs of the transport sector

The new fleet of trams and trains must be built and equipped for Victoria’s special requirements and conditions. These include disability access, energy efficiency, and the engineering needs of a metropolitan tram network that is one of the hardest working in the world.

To solve the challenges faced in Victoria – which also apply to many other transport systems around the world – industry will require access to Victoria’s world-leading research expertise. Victoria, a State with a population of nearly six million, is uniquely positioned with nine universities and research institutions with world-leading capabilities and expertise in product, service and technology innovation.

The Victorian Government recognizes that policy levers can help deliver its priorities of jobs and innovation. In 2018, the Victorian Government introduced the Victorian Industry Participation Policy (Local Jobs First) Amendment Bill. The Bill mandates minimum local content on major projects leading to the creation of more jobs for Victorians and support for local industry.

Our work is centered around using this policy lever in a way that collaborations and partnerships between industry and Victorian research and education providers may count as local content.