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SMEs look to benefit under new export strategy

Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have welcomed the Defence Export Strategy, with some already looking at the prospects of improving on their established export markets. 

NSW's Thomas Global Systems' revenue is predominantly made up of exports to Australia's allies, with CEO Angus Hutchison looking forward to the prospects the new strategy will deliver for other SMEs.

"We’re certainly very confident that with the policy settings going forward, this will be a good time for Australian defence companies over the next 10 years," Hutchison said at a press conference.

"We export for 70 per cent of our revenue, it’s export. The export countries are, we export to the US, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Europe. There’s probably about 50 countries that we export to."

Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN) has also come out in support of the new strategy, which will be given $20 million per year for its implementation, 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.

A $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility will also be administered by Australia's export credit agency, Efic, an initiative the government said will 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.

"We are pleased that the strategy will include investment in both program funding and people," AIDN national president Rob Forbes said.

"Government has made a commitment to its belief in the strength of the domestic defence industry and our ability to deliver innovative technologies and services to allies across the world, directly or as partners in global supply chains."

Forbes said the strategy, which recognises exports will help sustain the domestic industry during peaks and troughs, has a much-needed focus on developing the relationship between government and industry.

"In particular, AIDN welcomes the commitment to strengthening the partnership between government and industry, which will be of particular assistance to SMEs which do not have a dedicated export unit," Forbes said.

"AIDN’s national membership recognises that an export-oriented defence industry requires a strategic and long-term vision. We look forward to working with other sections of the defence industry to support this initiative and with government as it commits resources to implement the new strategy."

SMEs look to benefit under new export strategy
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