The Turnbull Government released its Defence Export Strategy last month in an effort to build Australia’s growing defence sector – and there’s plenty that WA businesses should get excited about.

The landmark document sets out the policy and strategy to make Australia one of the top 10 global defence exporters within the next decade.

It will complement the record $200 billion investment in Australian Defence Force capability.

The Defence Export Strategy includes several new initiatives and investments, such as:

  • a new Australian Defence Export Office. The office will work hand in hand with Austrade and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability to coordinate our whole-of-government efforts, providing a focal point for defence exports
  • a new Australian Defence Export Advocate to provide high-level advocacy for defence exports and work across industry and government to ensure our efforts are coordinated
  • a $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility administered by Efic, Australia’s export credit agency. This will help Australian companies obtain finance needed to underpin overseas equipment sales. It will provide confidence to the Australian defence industry to identify and pursue new export opportunities knowing Efic’s support is available when there is a market gap for defence finance.
  • $20 million per year to implement the Defence Export Strategy and support defence industry exports, including $6.35 million to develop and implement strategic multi-year export campaigns, an additional $3.2 million to enhance and expand the Global Supply Chain program and an additional $4.1 million for grants to help build the capability of small and medium enterprises to compete internationally.

Outgoing CCIWA Chief Executive Deidre Willmott welcomes the document, particularly given CCI’s advocacy in this area.

“CCI has played a key role in leading WA’s defence advocacy by founding the WA Defence Industry Council – an initiative to bring together WA’s defence industry to work with federal and state governments to promote WA’s elite defence capabilities and competitive advantages,” she says.

“The council’s collective advocacy with the WA Government has already led to the Henderson industrial area being named one of Australia’s two shipbuilding hubs, secured an extra $100 million into WA’s defence infrastructure at HMAS Stirling and the Henderson strip, and ensured 10 of the 12 OPV vessels will be built by Austal and Civmec at Henderson from 2020.”

Willmott says WA has a lot to offer the defence export sector.  

“WA has a competitive advantage as we are home to Australia’s most successful defence exporter. And our expertise in oil and gas and mining has allowed this highly skilled workforce to transition from mining projects to defence projects and back,” she says.

“The Commonwealth Government’s Defence Export Strategy will build on this success by enhancing the international profile of our defence industry, as well as providing the policy framework they need to competitively bid for and secure international contracts. 

“The global defence industry has historically been dominated by a handful of countries. CCI urges the Commonwealth Government to grow the profile of our defence industry by ensuring Australian companies are central to the teams appointed to lead major projects, such as the $35 billion Future Frigates program.

“Key roles in major domestic projects will grow Australia’s export capability in our region and in the international market.”

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