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New report touts ‘AUKUS visa’

New report touts ‘AUKUS visa’

The introduction of an “AUKUS visa” is among a raft of recommendations proposed to support a “transformation” of Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.

The introduction of an “AUKUS visa” is among a raft of recommendations proposed to support a “transformation” of Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.

PwC Australia has released a new report in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) and the Australian British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) — Maximising Australia’s AUKUS Opportunity.

The report proposes a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring Australia capitalises on a “once-in-a-generation security and technology partnership opportunity”, which can “transform Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities”.


Among the proposals is a recommendation to introduce an “AUKUS visa”, designed to facilitate the movement of UK and US citizens to Australia.

The visa could also be used to expedite the approval process for clearances for individuals who have been vetted in the UK and US.

Other measures proposed include:

  • Deeper consideration of whether mounting risks in the geostrategic environment are reflected in the culture across defence. This includes exploring whether Defence could move to “rapid prototype and implementation procurement models”.
  • Clarifying the government’s role in protecting or creating domestic manufacturing capabilities, including a re-evaluation of the Australian Industry Capability Program.
  • Considering the role of national workforce planning at an enterprise level to ensure defence stakeholders are not competing for resources at the detriment of the Defence system.
  • Establishing an “AUKUS Office” — a tripartite agency to remove “costly bilateral export authorisations” in favour of a “framework-driven environment”.
  • Reviewing the efficiency of current procurement.

According to PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour, such measures would help “drive transformational change” across the sovereign defence industry, ensuring Australia capitalises on opportunities presented by AUKUS.

“While defence outcomes are of primary importance, AUKUS also presents a chance to deliver broader economic benefits across Australia, resulting in more well paid and highly skilled jobs,” he said.

“We believe AUKUS could be the catalyst for three key changes across Australia’s economy.”

Seymour said the trilateral agreement can help strengthen the resilience of Australia’s supply chains to help ensure access to critical products, while also building the manufacturing base and fostering innovation.

April Palmerlee, CEO of the AmCham, noted the importance of seizing economic opportunities.

“With the Indo-Pacific region now accounting for a full third of global economic output, this report highlights the opportunity for Australian organisations to respond with agility to the dynamic geopolitical environment and find ways to increase market share while at the same time improving national security,” she said.

David McCredie AM OBE, CEO of the ABCC, said these measures would further deepen collaboration between the AUKUS members.

“There are many avenues of inquiry in AI, automation and unmanned vehicles, quantum computing, and hypersonics, all with huge learning curves still ahead of us,” McCredie said.

“To partner with our friends on these important opportunities is an imperative.”

[Related: AUKUS members renew pledge to strengthen defence ties]

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