While Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has embarked on travel to Saudi Arabia, France, Poland and the UK, Defence has confirmed Australia has continued increasing its defence exports to Saudi Arabia.
Senate estimates revealed that since the previous estimates in May this year, where it was confirmed four defence exports to Saudi Arabia were approved, there have been an additional five exports approved.
"There have been five exports of equipment – or export permits issued – to Saudi Arabia since the last estimates," Department of Defence Deputy Secretary, Strategic Policy and Intelligence, Rebecca Skinner said.
Defence was unable to disclose the types of exports that have been approved, citing commercial-in-confidence reasons.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne is currently overseas, and has already visited Saudi Arabia, promoting Australia’s defence materiel
In Saudi Arabia, the minister met with senior government representatives to discuss the bilateral defence industry relationship.
Minister Pyne said that while in France he would meet with key representatives of the French government.
"France is one of Australia’s most important defence partners and I am glad to seize an early opportunity to establish our relationship with Minister [of the Armed Forces Florence] Parly," he said.
"I will also meet with representatives of French industry and our regional defence attaches to raise awareness of Australia’s world-class defence exports, along with my opposition colleague and shadow defence minister Richard Marles."
In Poland, Minister Pyne plans to highlight the world-class capabilities of Australian defence companies.
"With the Minister of National Defence, Antoni Macierewicz, I will discuss Poland’s extensive military modernisation program and the opportunities for Australian defence companies to export capability, like the Hawkei vehicle,” Minister Pyne said.
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Minister Pyne said he will also travel to the UK to meet with senior UK government officials, including Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon and industry representatives to discuss Australian and UK defence materiel co-operation and promote Australian defence exports, including the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle.