As BAE Systems (UK) and BAE Systems Australia vie for the $35 billion SEA 5000 and $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 projects respectively, the BAE Systems chairman has visited Australia and addressed the National Press Club.
Sir Roger Carr, who has chaired BAE Systems since 2014, praised the efforts of Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne for leading the charge in their commitment to delivering skills and jobs for future generations within the defence industry.
"There is no better example of government and industry working in harmony today in pursuit of shared objectives, than here in the defence industry of Australia," Sir Roger said.
"A government and a defence ministry – under the leadership of Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne – that has decided to make the production of defence equipment a greater sovereign capability."
However, he called for a shift in mindset from transactional acquisition to strategic partnership between defence industry and government if Australia is to deliver on its commitment to establish a strong, sovereign defence industry.
"To build a stronger national defence industry – not only capable of providing Australia’s armed forces with world class equipment – technology and support – but with the potential to compete globally and secure international exports," Sir Roger said.
"To provide quality jobs for an educated young population – sustainable employment – creating wealth at home and a long-term future for the children of the country.
"To do this requires a shift in mindset – and approach – on the part of industry and government alike – from transactional acquisition to strategic partnership."
Sir Roger talked up the efforts of BAE Systems in Australia over the last six decades, noting its involvement in key programs including sustainment of the Hawk MK 127, the delivery of an advanced Anti-Ship Missile Defence program for the Anzac Class frigates, and the Nulka, stressing the company is ready to assist Australia in its "new industrial agenda".
"We have a long and proud history of partnership with Australian industry – it’s what we do – we have been in this country for over 60 years, we have built ships, invested in technology, provided aircraft and serviced the military," he said.
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"We are embedded in the defence of this nation – working with Australian industry and academia [a government-to-government partnership].
"We are on strong foundations – the bedrock of Commonwealth family – the bonds of five eyes security – and the deeper engagement of a future post Brexit economy."
The esteemed business leader also called on media, government and business to work together to combat the emerging and evolving threats across the globe, stressing media must "remain vigilant" in monitoring progress.
"We live in dangerous times – the Russian bear growls a little louder, North Korea threatens adjacent Asian tigers, the deserts of the Gulf heat up with bitter rhetoric and daily conflict, Australian waters are regularly visited by foreign submarines, whilst the Japanese – and their neighbours – warily monitor the growth of man-made islands in the South China Sea," Sir Roger said.
"We at BAE Systems are committed to working with you in the face of this increasing risk – on land, sea, in the air and in cyber space.
"Only by working together will business, government, media and society find unity of purpose, security of borders, harmony of ambition and comfort in partnership.
"These are not issues for debate – they are items for action. We cannot rely on government alone to solve the challenges ahead – it is their role to set the climate for success. Only business can deliver the goods – and the media must keep score. If we are to thrive and defend ourselves, business must respond as an economic priority and social necessity.
"And if we in business shoulder these responsibilities, the media should remain vigilant in monitoring our progress."