The recently released Western Australia 2017-18 state budget has revealed funding will be given to the new Defence West office to establish an Indian Ocean Defence conference.
The new office, which is being supported by the state's first defence advocate Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Raydon Gates AO, CSM, has been given $320,000 in funding for establishing a new expo and conference to rival that of Sydney's Pacific conference.
"We have allocated $320,000 to go towards establishing an Indian Ocean Defence Expo and Conference, to be held biennially in Perth," explained Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia.
"The conference will showcase the state’s defence industry with the aim of attracting international investment."
Minister Papalia also confirmed to Defence Connect that $3.3 million has been allocated to the new Defence West office as it looks to secure more work for the WA defence industry.
"We have assigned $3.3 million to Defence West develop a defence strategy to help secure a greater share of contracts, assist SME’s to identify and develop export opportunities and continue to ensure WA has fit for purpose infrastructure to undertake Commonwealth defence programs," said Minister Papalia.
Defence West is currently working on proposals in a bid to access funding for the six capability streams outlined in the $195 billion Integrated Investment Program, with WA zeroing in on marine counter measures.
"We know that mines work in the ocean, in the maritime environment, is a real issue confronting the navy. We'd like to put navy operators, users together with potential industry players to develop capability in that field. Again, they'd be objective of meeting their demands and meeting their requirements, giving them a capability, but also developing an export potential, and export opportunities."
Along with this capability stream, the minister said the state is also looking at other areas in the IIP and will be putting ideas forward to the Department of Defence and federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.
"There's other areas we're looking at as well. The improvised explosive devices, countering those," Minister Papalia said.