Speech to Defence Industry Day 2022

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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17 November 2022

Acknowledgements omitted.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.

It’s wonderful to be here to kick off the City of Playford’s second Defence Industry Day.

And to be joining representatives of companies large and small that are contributing to the security of our nation.

South Australia is well known for punching above its weight.

From shipbuilding to cyber to space, it’s all happening here in this state.

I am deeply impressed by the important work that is undertaken here.

And by the expertise of the people who make it happen.

You are right to be proud of South Australia’s track-record of delivering some of our nation’s biggest and most complex defence programs.

Take shipbuilding, for instance.

So much of Australia’s military capability depends on the strength of our maritime capability.

As the home of our national shipbuilding industry, the Osborne Naval Shipyard is critical to our nation’s future.

Just near here, you’ve got Defence Science and Technology Group, and RAAF Base Edinburgh.

And many of the companies that Defence partners with.

It is energising to be surrounded by this extraordinary concentration of Defence and industry capability.

And a reminder of the amazing things this state, and our nation, can do.

Right here in this room, there are lots of inspiring success stories to share.

These achievements will be familiar to many of you.

But for the benefit of those of you who are relatively new to the defence industry, and wondering what might be possible.

Let me give you a few examples of companies that are working on major defence programs.

And playing their part in the development of our sovereign industrial base.

Century Engineering is working with BAE Systems Australia to help digitise its supply chain for the Hunter class frigates program.

Eptec Group has been selected by ASC to carry out blast and paint work to support the maintenance of our Collins class submarines, and...

Levett Engineering – a world-leading precision component manufacturer based not far from here – makes parts for F-35 combat aircraft.

There is already so much to be proud of.

But we want to hear even more success stories in the years to come.

The Albanese Government is committed to helping you write the next chapters in South Australia’s rich industrial history.

We’ll continue to work closely with the Premier, Peter Malinauskas, to ensure the South Australian defence industry becomes even stronger.

Because the future prosperity and security of all Australians depends on it.

As you know, Australia’s strategic circumstances are more complex today than at any other time since the end of the Second World War.

You are all aware of the range of serious challenges that we face.

And I sincerely thank those of you who have already stepped up, and are helping us meet these challenges.

But there is always more work to be done.

You can count on our Government to champion a strong and growing industrial base across our nation.

So that industry is best positioned to provide the game-changing capabilities that the Australian Defence Force needs.

We will make sure more of our acquisition projects are delivered on time.

Australians rely on us to keep them safe.

And expect us to spend Defence funding wisely.

Every purchase we commit to, and every decision we take, must be making our nation stronger and more secure.

We will take this responsibility seriously.

The Defence Strategic Review will help us determine how to prioritise our investment, based on a careful assessment of our strategic environment.

The review will make recommendations to help ensure that our people and their equipment are in the best possible position.

Enabling them to respond effectively to rapidly changing circumstances.

The Government has also committed to delivering a new Defence Industry Development Strategy.

This strategy will be guided by the Defence Strategic Review.

And it will provide clarity and direction on how industry and Defence will work together to deliver on the review’s recommendations.

The Albanese Government is committed to leveraging the unique talents of the Australian workforce to support the growth of a highly capable and internationally competitive defence industry.

We won’t be able to achieve our goals unless we move forward in partnership with industry.

And we must move forward with urgency.

I am so pleased to hear that the newly formed Edinburgh Industry Alliance shares this vision.

I understand that 9 companies based here in the northern suburbs of Adelaide have joined the Alliance.

And that the Office of Defence Industry Support, or ODIS, is providing a range of advisory services to many of your members.

Through its industry engagement teams, ODIS offers guidance to small and medium-sized enterprises that are seeking to enter or expand their presence within our defence industry.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the ODIS staff that have been engaging with the City of Playford.

This is what we want to see.

We must support innovative Australian businesses with great ideas and highly skilled people.

We need to help them show Defence decision-makers what they’ve got to offer.

And we need to get these cutting-edge capabilities into the hands of our men and women in uniform as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for inviting me to attend your second Defence Industry Day.

I hope you can continue to build from here.

And I look forward to receiving updates on your progress in the months and years to come.

I encourage you to make the most of this networking opportunity.

Your conversations, and the connections you make today, could open a door to a brighter future for your company.

And they could help us secure a more prosperous future for our nation.

Thank you.


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