Former RAAF pilot and current defence advocate for NSW Air Marshall (Ret’d) John Harvey has stressed that national defence spending is essential in improving Australia’s economic and defence capability outcomes.
Speaking at [email protected], Harvey said that monetary investment and an increased focus on the defence industry is critical for growing Australian industry and prosperity.
"The activity of the defence sector is being seen as a stimulant overall to the Australian economy so there is a key focus there just in economic terms," Harvey said.
"As you may have heard, the Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has said on a number of times 'there's never been a better time to be involved in defence industry in Australia than now'.
"It’s not just about the large amount of money that will be spent over the forthcoming decade, it's also the fact there's an increased focus on doing as much of that as we can within Australia."
Harvey, who spent 34 years in the Royal Australian Air Force as a pilot, technical officer and a flight test director, also discussed the importance of determining sovereign capabilities and how Australia can best pursue them.
"It's important spending a lot on defence, but the key focus, as I say, is to do that in Australia. And an important part of that, that you may or may not be aware of, is pursuing what are called sovereign industry capabilities," Harvey said.
"Working out those capabilities we need to have resident in Australia so we can achieve our defence needs without direct support from other people."
However, Harvey said, the technology involved in defence is often complex and development in relevant sectors must be addressed to ensure successful sustainment of capabilities.
"Defence capabilities are increasingly complex in terms of the technology involved. Not just in terms of building and designing the equipment, but in terms of operating and sustaining the equipment, and that's another reason why it's important for the economy to spur development in a whole range of sectors, particularly advanced manufacturing," he said.