Thank you to ASPI for the opportunity to address your ‘Shape, Deter, Respond’ conference.
My apologies for not being able to attend in person.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a time of utmost importance for our nation.
Australia is confronting changes in our strategic environment that are disruptive, widespread, and rapid.
Our region is the focus of a new strategic, global competition.
Regional military modernisation is increasing.
New and disruptive technologies are emerging.
Strategic competition is intensifying.
Of course, a lot of this is not new – and Australia is not looking to pick a fight, nor is it bracing itself for conflict.
But today, it’s amplified in our increasingly connected, economically interdependent and cyber-reliant world.
These challenges are clearly articulated in our 2020 Defence Strategic Update.
As are the measures we are taking to meet them.
By shaping our strategic environment.
By deterring actions against our interests.
And by responding with credible military force, when required.
And that preparation includes making sure the Australian Defence Force is trained, equipped and ready to mobilise.
That’s just what the ADF is doing.
It’s getting on with its core business.
And to support it, the Morrison Government is investing $270 billion dollars through to 2030 in new defence capabilities.
As the Minister for Defence Industry, it is my principal focus to ensure that we have a defence industrial base that can provide vital inputs to our priority areas of capability:
And Sovereign Guided Weapons.
These are the kinds of defence capabilities that were identified in the 2020 Strategic Update.
Delivering new defence capabilities means strengthening Australia’s defence industrial base.
It means bolstering the partnerships between Defence and industry.
So that together, we can deliver the world-class capability needed to defend Australia and our national interests.
So that we can enhance our self-reliance through more, better grounded sovereign industrial capabilities.
So that we can help support our national economic objectives – recovery from the pandemic, more jobs for Australians, and new prosperity for the nation.
In this, our security and economic objectives are interwoven.
The Government wants to see a defence industry that is robust – one that is well-supported to develop the skilled workforce needed now, and into the future.
A defence industry that is resilient – one with secure supply chains that helps it withstand future shocks.
And a defence industry that is internationally competitive – one that fosters new commercial and export opportunities, especially for our small-to-medium sized businesses.
In short, we want Australian industry to be able to deliver more of what the ADF needs, when it needs it.
In my time in this portfolio, I’ve been exceptionally proud of what Defence and industry have and continue to achieve in partnership.
Particularly what they’ve been able to do during the pandemic – namely, getting on with the job of delivering and sustaining capability.
In my time in the Defence portfolio, we have made some great in-roads into bringing Defence and industry closer together.
Of increasing the number of small-to-medium sized businesses entering the defence marketplace.
Becoming integral parts of the supply chain.
Expanding their operations.
Nurturing young talent.
Bolstering our industrial base.
Building sovereign capabilities.
And reaching new international markets.
Each day, Australia’s defence industry is getting stronger
Through our strategic priorities and investment in Defence capability – backed up with increasing our partnerships with defence industry – we are enhancing Australia’s readiness to meet the challenges that may come in the future.