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SA businesses working to build the future of Australia’s defence


South Australia is fast becoming the focus and hub for defence manufacturing in Australia. Once referred to as “a big country town”, Adelaide continues to grow to be the standout city of innovation, growth, jobs and lifestyle. With billions of dollars and decades of work in Defence before us, this is an exciting time for SA businesses to be involved and work together.

A strong example of this is a classic Adelaide case study involving JLB in Hendon and MG Engineering based out of Port Adelaide.


JLB has been Australia’s leader in management systems development and implementation for nearly 30 years, specialising in developing and implementing tailored quality, environmental, safety, food safety, information security, asset management and integrated management systems across a broad range of industries and proudly assisting more than 1,000 clients through to certification. 

MG Engineering is an Adelaide, family-owned shipbuilding and engineering business, formed in 1995. Now 23 years on, the business has a strong history of completing projects in both shipbuilding and in engineering/fabrication. MG Engineering holds the skills, experience and capacity to provide valued contributions to the future of naval shipbuilding projects. 

In 2011, MG Engineering sought the services of JLB in order to grow the business and exceed industry standards in quality, safety and environmental management. MG Engineering’s managing director Anthony Brdar sought the growth that MG Engineering needed.

“JLB helped us to revise our standards, procedures and practices as well as how we view quality and safety. We then used that to enter into naval ship building contracts like the Air Warfare Destroyer program,” said Brdar

JLB managing director Sean Bates has been pleased with the results of the integrated management system (IMS) implementation and the growth of their client MG Engineering.

“It’s great to see a client go from strength to strength and MG is a good example of what can be achieved through a focus on quality and best practice,” Bates said.

Developing an IMS that incorporated vital aspects for quality, safety and environmental management, JLB leveraged years of experience in this field. Following this implementation, MG Engineering was contracted by the Australian Shipbuilding Corporation (ASC) to deliver three fully fabricated and assembled mast ship blocks, which were transported via a barge to the ASC Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance Techport. This represented another win for local business in South Australia. It also demonstrates that SA businesses have the forward-thinking mindset to work together collaboratively.

Quality is important in any field, but most vitally in the defence sector. The international standard for quality (ISO 9001) is not just about ticking a box, but ensuring standards are met that mean men and women on the front line of defence go to work each day confident in the ships, vehicles and equipment they use. Companies wanting to participate in the defence supply chain will need to demonstrate quality and safety to high standards, and ISO 9001 is vital to achieving that.

With billions of dollars of opportunity in South Australian defence supply chain contracts, businesses are seeking to be a part of it. The next five years will be particularly exciting for SA businesses, especially those willing to raise their standards and practices to those required to be a part of this exciting future.

SA businesses working to build the future of Australia’s defence
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