Defence industry pushes for more Australian exports

christophy pyne canberra speech

Australia needs to break out of its ‘modest mindset’ and endeavour to become a global player in defence export, according to Minister for Defence Industry Christoper Pyne.

Speaking in Canberra on Monday night, Minister Pyne identified defence export opportunities as the key to creating more jobs across the country and boosting the profile of SMEs. 

Minister Pyne said a change in mindset is the key to competing with the rest of the world.

"For far too long we have hidden our light under a bushel," Pyne said.

"(We) thought the Italians do it better, the French do it better, the Germans sell their wares, the British are quite ruthless and the United States are out there.

"We believe we do make some of the best equipment and platforms in the world today and we want to sell them."

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ranked Australia 20th for defence exports during 2011-2015.

Comparatively, Australia ranked fifth for defence imports during the same time period.

Minister Pyne will travel to the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the US in the coming months to promote the capabilities and innovation of the Australian defence industry.

Minister Pyne's speech echoed similar thoughts to those of BAE Systems Australia CEO Glynn Phillips, who also spoke in Canberra.

Phillips said that innovation is the key to growing the Australian defence industry, but that turning the industry into a global leader will not happen overnight.

"The opportunity for Australian industry to play a leading role is one that can and should be grasped. But this opportunity won’t fall into the laps of either small, medium-sized or large defence companies and contractors," Phillips said.

"It is up to industry to take the lead and do the hard work to ensure that Australia can not only increase its ability to service its own defence needs, but to play a bigger role in servicing the defence needs of other countries."

Phillips did note, however, that Australia's investment into the nation's workforce will make this goal easier to achieve.

"Thankfully, we’re not starting from scratch. Australian industry has been working with our Defence Force for 100 years. We have grown our footprint, we have expanded our contribution to the economy and we have continued to invest in and grow the skills of this nation’s workforce," he said.

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