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WDSN Panel: Australian Defence Industry Culture

Date: Monday 4 December 2017
Location: ASPI. L2, ACT

The next decade will present Australia’s defence industry sector with one of its biggest ever opportunities, and one of its biggest ever challenges. The government is seized with the idea of using its defence capital acquisition budget to drive innovation and produce high-tech jobs for the 21st century. That’s an opportunity for obvious reasons—the forecast spend on defence materiel over the next decade is a whopping $192 billion, compared with less than half that amount over the past decade.

It’s a challenge because industry will have to work hard to build the capacity to deliver the quality and quantity of goods and services that the ADF needs. The defence sector competes with other industries for skilled workers and project managers, and a return of high prices in the resources sector is one obvious source of potential future pressure. As well, much of Australia’s high-tech industry capability resides in small-to-medium enterprises, and many of the players are not accustomed to working with Defence. The likely landscape will continue to be dominated by local footprint of the large multinational firms that have for many years occupied most of the ‘top ten’ places in the defence business rankings. But increasingly they’ll be asked—and will be looking to—partner with Australian suppliers.

This discussion will explore the way ahead for the Australian defence industry sector in today’s environment.