“As projects tail off, our industry loses valuable skills; it is time we stop looking at defence acquisition as one-off projects and commit to an ongoing national shipbuilding plan,” said the campaign’s national spokesperson Chris Burns.
“As more workers lose their jobs and small businesses have to close shop around the country, we renew our call on the federal government to provide the sector with certainty of their commitment to a national shipbuilding strategy. Industry is in limbo as it awaits the outcomes of the competitive evaluation processes for submarines, Future Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels.”
Burns, who is also chief executive officer of the Defence Teaming Centre, stated that industry would invest in “innovation strategies” if the government commits to building and maintaining ships and submarines in Australia under a continuous-build national shipbuilding plan.
“The defence industry will play a crucial role to promote innovation, agility and global competitiveness, contributing to the growth of the Australian economy,” he said.
“With federal government commitment, industry can develop local design capabilities key to building our future fleets; without it, industry cannot invest in technologies or training, and it is Australians who will miss out. The federal government has not yet made any commitment to the defence industry as part of their innovation agenda central to reinvigorating our economy.”
Speaking at the Defence Teaming Centre breakfast in Adelaide in December, Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne stated that the government is committed to partnering with industry.
“Delivering the high-technology future force, we know, depends on our capacity to partner with industry, and it will take innovation,” Senator Payne said.
“The Turnbull government is absolutely committed to this and I am making sure that Defence is committed to this, and the challenge, coming back the other way, is to make sure that industry is ready to help drive this constructively and creatively. 2016 is certainly shaping to be a milestone year for Defence and Australia’s defence industry, and particularly here in Adelaide.”