DTC Award Night Speech

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Senator the Hon David Fawcett

Assistant Minister for Defence

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  • Mike Banham (Senator Fawcett’s office): (02) 6277 3409
  • Defence Media: (02) 6127 1999, media@defence.gov.au

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9 November 2018

I think the introduction was almost longer than the time allocated for me to speak, so I will be brief.

There is a long list of distinguished guest who have been acknowledged. I acknowledge you and welcome you. I'd particularly like to say thank you to the board of the DTC and to Margot and her team, and congratulate you for yet another great event tonight. But in so doing, I'd also like us just to pause and reflect on why we are here tonight, and I would put forward two reasons.

The first is because we live in interesting times. The global rules-based order that has seen tens of millions of people in our region and indeed around the globe prosper, is under threat like at no time in recent history from both non-state actors and from state actors.

In response to this, you see the Government taking a number of considered actions. Even today, you saw announcements of partnerships and investment into our region. You've seen announcements with the US and Japan about investments into our region – of partnering with a range of our pacific and other neighbours.

We've also seen decisions from this Government concerning the need to invest in a Defence Force that is capable of deterring, and if need be, defeating those who would threaten Australia's national interests. This investment requires three things. Firstly, the investment of finance, and so you've seen the commitment to $200 billion over the next ten years, which is the most significant build up in Defence capability since WWII.

Second we need to partner with Industry, and you’ve seen a paradigm shift in Australia's policy settings. Flowing out of the First Principles Review, and I acknowledge former senator and Defence Minister Robert Hill here tonight, who was a member of that First Principles Review team. The team who came out with the recommendation that we should consider that Defence Industry is one of the fundamental inputs to capability. So that our service chiefs as well as being concerned about the people, the organisational structures, the support, the technical equipment, doctrine and tactics should also be concerned about the availability and the viability of Industry to support them.

And you've seen, flowing from that, the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, which seeks to make the interaction between Defence and Industry on a more sustainable partnering basis to give Industry the opportunity and the incentive to invest in their people, their processes and their capacity.

But thirdly, and I would argue this is the second reason we're here tonight, is because we need Industry to partner with us. What we are doing here tonight is celebrating the fact that in response to this investment and this framework that has been established in response to the national need, we have seen Industry step up to find new ways to partner with the Federal Government, but importantly to innovate; to do what Australian industry does well, which is to find solutions for problems. You are doing that well and tonight we will see some of the exemplars from Industry here in South Australia.

Thank you for your partnership, thank you for the role that you are playing in the national interests of Australia. Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted tonight and congratulations for the outcomes that you're achieving for our nation.


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