AIDN-Vic chief executive Claire Willette said the decision to part ways with AIDN National was made to address increasingly divergent outlooks on how to support SMEs in the defence industry and broader, dual-use sector.
During Eurosatory 2018, AIDN-Vic signed an MOU establishing partnership, collaboration, capacity building, and market entry facilitation with the Region Centre-Val de Loire in France, paving the way for Victoria's defence industry to access the European market. This move directly supports the Commonwealth’s Defence Export Strategy and will aim to strengthen relationships to further the interests of AIDN-Vic members.
“We are confident that this move will enable AIDN-Vic to be better positioned to pursue partnerships with other defence and dual-use industry peak bodies, and create new, focused pathways for SMEs in Victoria, interstate and internationally,” said Willette.
Willette said the decision to resign the organisation's membership to the broader national body comes after significant investment of time and resources into AIDN National, which the board determined as the best way to meet the growing needs of AIDN-Vic's members.
Regarding the relationship with the South Australia-based Defence Teaming Centre (DTC), Willette reinforced that AIDN-Vic will continue to work with DTC and looks forward to developing mutually beneficial avenues for members moving forward.
AIDN-Vic is Australia’s largest peak body for small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses involved in defence and dual-use industry, representing almost 300 members, as well as another 400 businesses that participate in the Victorian Defence Alliances.
As a peak defence industry body, AIDN-Vic aims to assist in the growth of the defence and dual-use industry in Australia, to maximise opportunities for its members, and to advocate on their behalf on policy and strategy matters related to the growth and success of Australia’s defence and dual-use industries.
“Our members have been clear about their desire for a strong peak body offering a substantive policy and strategy focus, which has the capability and expertise to advocate on their behalf to government and defence primes," Willette said.
Meanwhile, AIDN National President, Rob Forbes has responded to the announcement that AIDN-VIC would be withdrawing from the national body.
The Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN) is extremely disappointed to receive the resignation of its Victorian chapter today, National President Rob Forbes said "AIDN Victoria’s decision to withdraw from our network increases the number of voices purporting to represent the defence industry. This is at a time when the Government is seeking to hear one defence industry voice."
AIDN National has been working hard to establish a single voice on behalf of all SMEs operating in the defence industry and dual-purpose sectors.
The national organisation maintains that it will continue its efforts to improve its structure to provide that national voice and continue to work with various representative bodies and state and federal government organisations to ensure that we too are adapting to provide true collaboration to build the necessary capacity of our industrial base and provide the capability to the Defence Forces.
Forbes said that AIDN National reaffirms that its focus will remain to be the representative of a large number of SME suppliers in support of the Australian Defence and Security Forces. The success in providing this representation is reflected in a growing national membership base and its continued advocacy and support for the SME community.
As part of its national role, AIDN will now focus on ensuring that Victorian SMEs can be represented nationally and receive the benefits of the new range of products and services that provide value for all AIDN members wherever situated.