Premier Mark McGowan and Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia announced the appointment last week.
Rear Admiral Gates’ mission is to champion the interests of WA’s local defence industry, fight for more defence contracts and create jobs.
He will divide his time between Perth and Canberra and be supported by the Office of Defence West within the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.
Before his role at Lockheed Martin Rear Admiral Gates worked in the Royal Australian Navy for 37 years until 2008.
He has served in a number of leadership roles including Maritime Commander Australia, Commander of the Australian Defence College and Defence Attaché and Head Australian Defence Staff in Washington, DC.
McGowan says WA shipbuilders have the expertise and capability to build the next generation of Navy vessels and Rear Admiral Gates will advocate for WA’s defence industry in the nation’s capital.
Papalia says Rear Admiral Gates is the ideal person to fill this position, drawing on his extensive experience from within the Royal Australian Navy as well as his time leading the Australian arm of a major defence contractor.
“I look forward to working closely with Rear Admiral Gates to secure a greater share of projects within the six capability streams outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper and also identify potential export opportunities,” he says.
“Rear Admiral Gates will be Western Australia’s crucial eyes, ears and voice in the nation’s capital.”
CCIWA national policy adviser Joe Doleschal-Ridnell says Rear Admiral Gates is a great choice.
“Many in industry put forward the suggestion that Rear Admiral Gates be appointed as the State’s Defence Advocate and we are very pleased with this outcome,” he says.
“Defence Industry needs a voice in Canberra, and we look forward to working with the Defence Advocate to grow the opportunities for WA businesses.”
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