Topics: Capability and Technology Demonstrator program; leadership speculations.
I am very pleased to be here today to announce the successful companies and research organisations that are to receive Defence funding under Round 19 of the Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program – or CTD Program.
The CTD Program was established to encourage Australian Research and Development organisations to submit new technology concepts that can enhance Defence capability.
I am pleased to see that the Program continues to attract new and innovative technology proposals from Australian industry – particularly from small to medium enterprises.
For Round 19, Defence received 96 proposals and seven have been selected for funding.
The Australian Government is investing up to $14.2 million in these proposals to enable the successful organisations to develop and demonstrate their proposed technologies.
These proposals have the potential to advance Defence capability, produce innovative products for defence and civilian applications, and stimulate industry growth.
This year’s successful technology proposals aim to improve defence capability in a number of important areas: soldier protection; radio communications; x-ray imaging; anti-submarine warfare; helicopter crew safety; secure data transmission; and simulated pilot training.
I congratulate the following organisations who have been selected for their innovative proposals:
- Armor Composite Engineering for their low profile body armour, which addresses the capability need for enhanced individual soldier survivability.
- CSIRO for their miniaturised wide-band, low-noise frequency antenna that will achieve a reduced number of antennae on fitted platforms.
- Micro-X Ltd for their light weight mobile x-ray unit that can easily be deployed for a full range of medical radiology procedures, and provide improved counter-IED capabilities with reduced risk to the operator.
- Ocius Technology for their anti-submarine warfare unmanned surface vessel that will provide Navy with a long range, persistent detection capability.
- University of Canberra for its tactile flight display that improves helicopter safety in degraded or poor visibility and threat environments.
- The Bureau of Meteorology for developing technology that can securely transmit three-dimensional geospatial data to ships at sea, thus improving battlespace awareness during operations, and
- Deakin University for a low-cost, high-centrifuge for simulators used in pilot training that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the ADF’s fixed wing Pilot Training System.
I congratulate these organisations and commend them on their innovation to develop technologies that would be of great benefit to the ADF.
I’d like to add that through the CTD program Defence has invested $270 million in 118 projects since 1997.
Of those, 104 projects have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of their technologies.
This is a very good result for high risk research and development projects that benefit both Defence and Australian industry.
The Government continues to be committed to supporting these programs in the search to find solutions to Defence’s technology challenges now and into the future.
I will now take some questions from the floor before we look at some of the technologies being developed under Round 19 of the CTD Program.
So this is a good news story. It’s good news for Defence. It’s particularly good news in terms of safety and ability and capability for our Defence personnel, but it’s also good news for the Defence industry in Australia.
We have a very capable, innovative Defence industry in Australia and these are just the latest examples of what’s been done in this space. It’s something which the Government obviously continues to be committed to through programs such as those.
So once again, I thank Alex and the Defence Science and Technology group for sponsoring this ongoing work and for each of the companies for the innovative programs, which we’ve recognised here today. We look forward to the full development of each of the technologies, so that they can be used in the ways which are designed for them.
On that note, can I take any questions ladies and gentlemen of the media might have for me at this stage.
To return your attention to Parliament House, does the Prime Minister enjoy your support?
Has he reassured you that your position is safe?
I am doing the job of Defence Minister now and I expected to be doing it for the remainder of this term of Parliament and thereafter for as long as the Prime Minister would like me to do it.
Is Cabinet concerned that he might call an early election in order to stave off any of this leadership speculation?
Look, can we get all this stuff in context please. Last week we made an announcement in relation to deployment of our air force personnel, our jets and our other assets over Syria. That’s an important issue for the country, for the safety and security of our citizens. That’s the sort of thing that matters and anything that distracts from the real issues facing this country in terms of the safety and security of citizens, is simply a distraction and to distract from what I am here to do would come at a high cost. What I’ve got to do is ensure that we’ve got the assets and we’ve got the safety and security, as I’ve been talking about even in this launch, for our defence force personnel now and into the future. Anything else is a distraction.
It’s a constant distraction though, is that something that – it’s obviously frustrating you?
Look I think I’ve answered the question and I’m not going to add to the distraction.
Thank you very much.