The federal government has released the long-awaited Defence Export Strategy, with the new strategy setting its sights on Australia becoming one of the top 10 global defence exporters within the next decade.
The strategy, which was initially due to be released before Christmas last year, outlines new initiatives and investments, including:
- A new Australian Defence Export Office. Defence said the office will work hand-in-hand with Austrade and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability to co-ordinate whole-of-government efforts and will provide a focal point for defence exports;
- A new Australian Defence Export Advocate to provide high-level advocacy for defence exports and work across industry and government to ensure that efforts are co-ordinated;
- A $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility administered by Efic, Australia’s export credit agency. The initiative aims to help Australian companies get the finance they need to underpin the sales of their equipment overseas and provide Australian defence industry an opportunity to identify and pursue new export opportunities when there is a market gap for defence finance; and
- $20 million per year to implement the Defence Export Strategy and support defence industry exports, including $6.35 million to develop and implement strategic multi-year export campaigns, $3.2 million to enhance and expand the Global Supply Chain program, and an additional $4.1 million for grants to help build the capability of small and medium enterprises to compete internationally.
Currently, according to the most recent report that measures defence exports, Australia ranks at number 20 for exports from 2013-2016.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who unveiled the strategy at Thales Australia's Rydalmere office, said while the strategy outlines its ambitions to become a top 10 global defence exporter, it is by and large about Australian job creation.
"It all comes down to this: Australian jobs, 21st century jobs, high-tech, cutting-edge jobs," the PM said.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the strategy will look to address the up and down nature of defence within Australia.
"One of the features, of course, of defence industry is peaks and troughs, depending on the Australian government's demand for equipment and platforms," he said.
"By investing in defence exports, we are giving defence industry the opportunity to see through those peaks and troughs and establish very long-term investments in their equipment, in their skills, in their workforce, in their management, in their research and development."