Remarks via video message: Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research Summit (ADSTAR) - International Convention Centre, Sydney

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

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20 July 2022

I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

As the Minister for Defence, I also pay my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our nation in the past and continue to do so today.

Welcome, everyone to the inaugural Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research Summit.

I’m very sorry I’m unable to join you in person today.

This Summit comes at an important time for Defence and for our region.

I’ve just come from the United States, from meetings with the American Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, and senior officials within the American Defence establishment.

What shone through those meetings is a deep commitment to our Alliance, a deep commitment to the potential of our two countries to work together, and recognition of the deep pool of talent, knowledge and skill within the Australian Defence Science community.

The innovations you create, the knowledge you share, the partnerships you form and the relationships you develop are a priceless national asset.

And it’s my sincere hope that this Summit will help to further accelerate this collaboration, so that Australia can develop the defence science and technology we need, at greater speed.

The Government is committed to the importance of defence science and supporting innovation.

At the last election, Labor announced the establishment of an Australian Strategic Research Agency, or ASRA.

ASRA will undertake pivotal research in breakthrough technologies for defence and national security.

A strong science, technology and research sector is critical to enhance and accelerate capability development.

It enables Australia to be a more potent and capable partner, for example through AUKUS where we’ve made strong progress on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

It will also enable Australia, working with the UK and US, to implement the very highest standards of nuclear stewardship of Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.

International science partnerships are essential to creating a strong science, technology and research sector. 

Beyond AUKUS we are working with other international partners to develop the capabilities we all need to maintain our competitive edge.

Fundamental to Defence innovation is a strong sovereign Defence science and technology community.

We must never underestimate the deep technological capacity already created by Australia’s talented and dedicated scientists and researchers. 

Last year, Australia completed its first hypersonic test shot, by generating true hypersonic flight conditions, at large scale.

It was the culmination of fifty years of academic research and twenty years of investment in the science, technology and infrastructure supporting applied hypersonic defence research.

And as part of the Technical Cooperation Program at Exercise Rim of the Pacific this month, Australia demonstrated two ultra-high precision atomic clocks, based on different quantum technologies developed by teams from Adelaide, Griffith, La Trobe, Curtin and Queensland universities, fielded on a New Zealand frigate.

These are just two examples among many of the deep reservoirs of knowledge and expertise within our nation’s research and development enterprise.

The Government wants to see that national enterprise grow and flourish.

So we are committed to backing Australian defence science researchers and innovators with the right investments and the right time – through partnerships, grants and support to help the science and technology community to work with Defence.

I can honestly say that the work of everyone at this Summit has never been more important.

Australia faces the most complex set of strategic circumstances that we’ve seen since the end of the Second World War.

From artificial intelligence to hypersonics, from quantum technology to high energy weapons, whatever your area of interest or expertise, I hope that this Summit is the catalyst to help you form deep and genuine partnerships, to explore problems from different perspectives and work together even more closely than before.

I wish you all a most successful and enjoyable Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research Summit as together you “explore the art of the possible”.

Thank you.


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