Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) will have its headquarters in Adelaide, with its operations due to start in the second half of this year.
The Defence Industry Policy Statement that was released with the 2016 Defence White Paper refers to the CDIC as being the “cornerstone” of the federal government’s strategy for “resetting” the relationship between Defence and industry.
CDIC services will be delivered through AusIndustry, which is a division of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the CDIC model will build on the existing Defence Industry Innovation Centre, which is set to be incorporated into the new centre.
Funding totalling about $230 million out to 2025-26 will be redirected from existing defence industry programs.
Prime Minister Turnbull described the news using social media as “a big win for South Australia”, although when he made the announcement in person, along with Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, the PM did seek to emphasise that the CDIC is intended to be a national centre.
“It is based in Adelaide because of the very substantial defence industry presence here in South Australia and it makes sense for it to be here, but it will obviously be covering the whole nation,” the Prime Minister said.
“I cannot stress to you enough how important I regard the commitment of our Defence dollars as far as possible to Australian industry. There is no question that this is a matter of profound national importance, that as far as possible we use our Defence dollars to drive Australian industry, Australian innovation, because the benefits go well beyond the Defence budget.”
Besides its Adelaide headquarters, the CDIC is expected have a network of advisers in key locations across Australia to help the centre engage directly with industry.
The Defence Industry Policy Statement envisages the CDIC as providing strategic leadership for the sector, with the centre to be led by an advisory board that will be co-chaired by a senior private sector representative and a senior executive from Defence, and with board members drawn from industry and Defence.
The CDIC will focus its efforts on initiatives within three core areas: industry development, facilitating innovation, and business competitiveness and exports.