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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Assistant Minister for the Republic
Ben Leeson: 0404 648 275
4 September 2022
I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land – the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation – and pay my respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
Navy can be proud of its connection with First Nations people.
Let me celebrate the recent appointment of Navy’s first Indigenous Elders, former sailors Aunty Fran Visini and Uncle Phillip Bowie.
Their example will be a powerful one as part of Navy’s Indigenous Development Program.
Members of the Australian Defence Force.
Representatives of CAE Australia and other industry partners.
Ladies and gentlemen.
It’s a genuine pleasure to be here with you at the Navy Training Systems Centre.
Randwick Barracks is a vital part of the Kingsford-Smith electorate which I’m fortunate to represent.
It’s a place rich in history.
This barracks has been part of Australia’s defence for more than 130 years and I’m looking forward to playing my part in shaping its future as the Assistant Minister for Defence.
The Navy Training Systems Centre is part of the future of Randwick Barracks.
And it’s part of the future of the Royal Australian Navy.
I was at the official opening of this facility back in 2016 and it’s fantastic to see its growth and evolution over time.
So it is great to be here again today to celebrate another milestone – the signing of the Navy Platforms and Systems Training Services Contract between Navy and CAE Australia.
This contract will help ensure Navy’s people receive advanced training to help them master the knowledge and skills they need to prevail at sea.
It means those who will be operating and maintaining the advanced systems aboard the Landing Helicopter Dock ships like HMAS Canberra, the Hobart class destroyers, the new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships like HMAS Supply and the Huon class minehunters will hone their skills right here, on dry land.
They will use simulators to build up their knowledge of communications equipment, engines and sensors.
By the time they go to sea and get their hands on the real thing, they will know how to get the best out of this complex technology.
And importantly, they will know how to operate these systems safely.
Beyond the contract’s commercial benefits, Navy personnel will benefit from greater flexibility.
Some training will be delivered remotely, minimising time away from home, family and friends.
This approach will help Navy attract and retain the talent it needs to grow.
Industry plays a critical role in helping to deliver training for the Australian Defence Force.
To CAE Australia, under the leadership of Mathew Sibree and Jeff Perry – thank you for your significant 20-year contribution as an ADF training provider.
Once fully underway, this contract will deliver nearly 17,000 hours of training annually to over 2,000 officers and sailors.
This contract will help Navy to embrace new futures through the use of AI, virtual and synthetic training environments and machine learning.
Moreover, one hundred per cent of the baseline training delivery will be provided by Australian industry.
At least 95 per cent of the second-stage ‘Innovation and Continuous Improvement’ initiatives will be designed, developed and delivered by Australian industry.
And that’s great for Australian jobs.
I congratulate UNSW, Navantia, MMCLD, 3-by-3 and Cubic for their participation in this contract with CAE.
Let me also recognise and respect that Matthew, Jeff and many others here are veterans with past ADF service, but now serve the nation differently as partners in industry.
Thank you for your service and continued support of the nation’s defence.
Let me offer some final words to the most important people here today: the officers and sailors of Navy whom this contract is about.
Australia is a maritime nation – and unmistakeably so.
We have vast maritime approaches, many critical sea lanes and one of the world’s largest exclusive economic zones.
So much of Australia’s security and sovereignty depends on the sea.
Earlier this week at Garden Island, I was very fortunate to spend time with the Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, and the crew of HMAS Hobart.
I was briefed on the increasingly complex and challenging operating environment in which Navy’s ships are having to contend with across the Indo-Pacific.
The trends can’t be ignored.
But as important as advanced weapon systems are, the greatest technology in the world is nothing without people – because great people create real capability .
Providing Navy’s people with the right training is an essential part of the Albanese Government’s effort to build a more potent and lethal ADF.
We need to develop and grow a larger high-skilled workforce to generate Navy’s combat edge, and ultimately enhance our nation’s security.
This centre, supported by the new contract signed today, will be a critical enabler of this need.
In closing, I congratulate Navy on taking this important step on the Training Force transformation journey.
And to CAE Australia – with the signing of this contract, you are re-committing to supporting the ADF’s most precious asset: those who serve and wear Australia’s uniform.
I wish you all every success to train the people our Navy needs amidst the toughest strategic environment Australia has faced in over seventy-five years.
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