The forum, held in Sydney, brought together local, state-wide and national networks operating in NSW with the aim of better understanding their goals and methods, the challenges they faced and the opportunities for collaboration.
Some of the networks currently operating in NSW include the Australian Industry Defence Network, HunterNet Defence, the Shoalhaven Defence Interest Group, the Defence Murray Riverina Alliance and Advantage Wollongong.
Minister Blair said, "This forum is designed not only to enhance collaboration, but ensure that we’re all getting the ‘best bang for our buck’ from each network.”
Meanwhile, NSW defence advocate John Harvey AM reinforced Minister Blair's comments, saying that while the strength of NSW defence industry networks is not always fully appreciated at the national level, the goal of better understanding one another, collaborating and leveraging the different strengths of each network will be key to delivering the capability Defence requires, with the best outcome for NSW defence industry.
The NSW government, through its Defence and Industry Strategy, is committed to providing a centralised platform to support more effective leadership, advocacy and engagement with defence and collaboration with NSW defence industry.
Other issues such as changing operating environments, resourcing methods and sustainability of networks were also addressed at the forum.
'Strong, smart and connected' represents the NSW government’s vision for Defence and defence-related industries in the state. As Australia’s largest and most diverse economy, NSW is recognised as a leader in advanced manufacturing, systems integration, cyber security, aerospace, information and communication technology, business services and many other areas directly relevant to the needs of Defence.
The Director of Defence NSW, Peter Scott, CSC, was impressed by the strength of engagement from the senior defence industry leaders who attended. He noted that the Forum participants, who together had 600 plus years of collective defence and defence industry experience, were unanimous in their commitment to move forward together.
Planning for the next NSW Defence Network of Networks Forum, to be held before the end of the year, is now underway.
NSW is home to over 80 Defence bases and facilities, more than any other state, and Defence invests $5.5 billion annually in its operational expenditure. Defence and the industry that supports it currently directly employ over 26,500 people in NSW. Defence investment is already one of the key drivers of employment and economic growth in many regional areas.