MINISTER FOR DEFENCE INDUSTRY, THE HON MELISSA PRICE MP
DEFENCE CONNECT BUDGET LUNCH
TUESDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2020
OPENING ADDRESS (ONLINE)
Thank you Sarah for that warm introduction and for your passion for defence industry. You do an outstanding job in the work that you do.
I would also like to thank Stephen and Defence Connect for putting on this terrific event and congratulate you for your success during this challenging year.
Last week, the Treasurer announced the Morrison Government’s economic road to recovery; With the most significant business incentives ever delivered by any Australian Government.
The benefits for small, medium and large businesses in defence industry are immense.
We are kick-starting the engine of the Australian economy; With temporary full expensing for over 99 per cent of Australian businesses.
We’re also allowing companies to offset losses against previous profits on which tax has been paid, to generate a refund, providing greater cash flow support.
And in more good news, our Government is also exempting from the fringe benefits tax, employer-provided retraining activities to employees who are redeployed to a different role in the business.
For businesses in defence industry, this will encourage employers to help redeployed workers transition to a new role within or outside the business.
These are just some of the history-making measures of support for Australian businesses and I encourage all of you to take advantage of these benefits where you can; So that you can create more Australian jobs.
We also announced new support for skilling, traineeships and apprenticeships.
On top of our $1 billion dollar JobTrainer Fund and investment in skilling from our $1 billion dollar Defence recovery announcement; the Government has committed to an additional $1.2 billion dollars to boost apprenticeships.
There will be a 50 per cent wage subsidy for businesses that take on new apprentices from now until September next year.
There are great incentives from this budget to deliver hundreds of thousands of apprenticeship opportunities and defence industry has an important role to play.
In 2016, our Government embarked on a road towards financial certainty and stability for the Defence Budget.
We knew that in order to deliver a stronger Defence Force and stronger defence industry, we needed a bold strategy.
And this is how our Government’s $200 billion dollar Integrated Investment Plan was born.
Our IIP gave the certainty Defence and industry needed for a clear road ahead. But that was 2016.
In 2019, work commenced on a review of the strategic assumptions in the 2016 Defence White Paper.
The 2020 Force Structure Plan was the result of that review.
The Morrison Government is now investing $575 billion dollars over the next decade in the Defence portfolio.
This is an unprecedented and ambitious plan that we have chosen to embark on even in the face of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Defence Budget for the next decade is about supporting the strengthening of our Defence Force and our defence industry.
And out of this $575 billion dollars spend, we will be investing $270 billion dollars in Defence capability.
This investment allows us to deliver the capabilities our men and women in uniform rely on to keep Australians safe.
In our Defence Budget over the decade, we’re going to be investing:
$7 billion dollars on Space capabilities. This will allow us to invest in upgrades and support to existing and future satellite communications systems that will be under sovereign Australian control.
This will transform the way the ADF operates in space, across the joint force.
We will also be investing $15 billion dollars on Information and Cyber capability.
This will enhance our defensive and offensive cyber capabilities.
And ensure we have the ability to deploy these capabilities on operations so that Defence can deter and respond to cyber threats.
And in more good news, we will also invest just under a $1 billion dollars on the Defence Innovation Hub.
And more than $1 billion dollars on the Next Generation Technology Fund.
We need this investment in emerging technologies so that we can ensure Defence will have the capability it needs to address its future threats.
Such as directed energy weapons and high speed missile systems.
And we will continue to invest in our Naval Shipbuilding Program.
We are building our future ships right here in Australia, creating 15,000 Australian jobs rights across the country.
The investment is there, the opportunities are there and the way we do business with industry is changing.
We are on the right track and delivering the budget certainty Defence and industry needs for the future.
These are highly complex and challenging projects that will be delivered over the course of the next 30 years.
We are laying the ground work to deliver extremely technical projects for our ADF and we need to continue to develop our close partnership with industry so that we can deliver these projects.
And there is no doubt we are going to encounter challenges on this road, but by working together with our partners we will overcome them and that will truly be a great success story.
I want to take this opportunity to thank industry during this COVID period for the way that it has managed to keep the wheels of defence industry moving, such as their changes of work practices going from one shift to two shifts, their social distancing in the workplace, in particular in factory settings.
Your efforts have been appreciated and have not gone unnoticed. I would go as far to say that Defence industry is the darling of Australian industry.
At the outset of COVID I said that we had to come out the other side stronger and not weaker, and as the Minister for Defence Industry I am extremely proud of the way industry has responded and also the way that CASG has supported industry to get us into this positive position.