Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce

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2 September 2022

A joint State and Commonwealth taskforce will be established to ensure defence projects in South Australia will have a highly skilled workforce to draw on. The projects are underway and already planned for, and critical to Australia’s national security.

South Australia will be central to the delivery of some of the largest and most complex defence projects ever undertaken in Australia, including the Hunter Class Frigates, and the Life of Type Extension of the Collins Class submarines.

Current modelling projects the state’s shipyard workforce will grow from 2,800 to 5,000 by 2027 and to 9,000 by 2037.

The new SA Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce will bring together key stakeholders from government, unions, universities, training providers, business and industry to develop solutions to the most critical challenges.

It will consider and make recommendations on key defence industry workforce and skilling issues in South Australia, including:

  • Aligning State and Commonwealth strategies to develop the defence industry workforce.
  • Growing the pipeline of STEM qualified graduates.
  • Ensuring investment in education and training for the defence industry is targeted to address priority needs, including new models of training.
  • Transitioning skilled workers from other sectors into the defence industry.
  • Increasing the participation of women and Indigenous Australians in STEM careers and the defence industry.
  • Increasing awareness and access to education and training pathways into defence industry careers, with a focus on under-represented cohorts.
  • Ensuring school leavers are aware of defence industry opportunities and get the skills they need for defence industry jobs.

The Taskforce will be co-chaired by State and Commonwealth officials with costs to be met within existing resources.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy:

“The Albanese Government is working in partnership with the states and territories to have the right skills at the right time to deliver the defence projects fundamental to our national security.

“We need to act now if Australia is to have the skills and workforce needed to build our defence capability

“This joint taskforce is focussed on growing and skilling the workforce in South Australia that will be so essential to delivering these critical defence projects.

Quotes attributable to Premier Peter Malinauskas:

“This is a significant step forward for our state’s long-term prosperity.

“Too often, governments focus on the short-term. This joint taskforce is all about ensuring our state is well prepared to seize the long-term opportunities of multiple defence projects which will span generations.

“We have before us an opportunity to secure thousands of well-paid, highly-skilled jobs in South Australia for years and decades to come.”

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