Business welcomes Defence West

26 May, 2017

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) has welcomed today’s announcement from the State Government as an important initiative that will help ensure WA’s world-class defence industry receives its fair share of the Commonwealth’s billion-dollar defence contracts.

“Western Australia needs a ‘Team WA’ approach to progress our involvement in defence for the national interest – establishing a State Government body for defence will be vital in bringing together WA defence stakeholders to form a collective, unified voice,” says CCI Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott.

“Establishing a part of Government dedicated to this work and an influential defence advocate has been a long-term position of CCI, and we’re pleased Premier McGowan is honouring this pre-election commitment.

“An important task for Defence West, our state’s first-ever dedicated Minister for Defence Issues, the Hon. Paul Papalia, and the soon-to-be-appointed Defence Advocate will be to lead the ‘Team WA’ effort and raise the profile of WA’s world-class defence industry, which is critical to ensure our state adequately contributes to the national shipbuilding effort.

“WA is a global leader in shipbuilding and defence, with our sophisticated defence supply chain boasting more than 180 expert contractors and manufacturers. Having a dedicated defence advocacy body for our state will help ensure that our advanced defence capability is understood and appreciated on the East Coast.

“WA now needs to execute the strategy to secure the home porting and the long-term maintenance and sustainment of the offshore patrol vessels, the Collins Class Fleet, Future Frigates, and other naval vessels. The WA business community needs to be heavily involved in the development of this strategy, which should also focus on developing the infrastructure to support our long-term commitment to defence.

“Western Australians have always known that our state has the most vibrant and extensive defence supply chain – last year this was recognised at a national level by the Federal Government naming our state as one of two shipbuilding hubs. The time has come for WA to step up to the plate and establish ourselves as national leaders on defence matters.

“With the strategic importance of direct access to the Indian Ocean and HMAS Stirling – the Royal Australian Navy’s largest base – WA has a critical role in the nation’s defence strategy and the execution of the Federal Government’s plan to build sovereign capability and formally recognise industry as a Fundamental Input to Capability.

“To further establish WA as a national defence leader, CCI is also working with WA universities to make our state a centre of defence research.

“CCI will meet with Premier Mark McGowan, Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia and Minister for Lands; Planning Rita Saffioti to discuss WA’s defence future and the critical role the business community has to play. CCI and members of the WA Defence Industry Council will travel to Canberra next month, to highlight WA’s advanced capabilities to our national defence colleagues.

“CCI and the WA business community look forward to working with the State Government and Defence West to further promote WA’s world-class defence capabilities and secure defence maintenance and sustainment contracts.”

Media contact: Kate Hodges – 0448 928 227