Tasmania should take inspiration from SA’s approach to defence pitches

Tasmania should take inspiration from SA’s approach to defence pitches
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne tours the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has said Tasmania and other states should look at how states like South Australia and NSW pitch for defence contracts.

Minister Pyne said one aspect that could hinder Tasmania's approach to defence contracts is its vast spread across the state, rather than in a hub.

"There are some significant, iconic businesses and institutions, but the Tasmanian defence sector is more spread right across your state, it doesn't have ... one large shipbuilding facility, the same as Henderson in Perth, or Bendigo’s major vehicle manufacturing," Minister Pyne told ABC Radio Hobart.

The minister said this could potentially impact Tasmania's ability to "take advantage of the opportunities" available through the government's investment in military capabilities over the next decade.

But Minister Pyne was optimistic that if Tasmania followed in the steps of SA, it could secure more wins for local businesses.

"One of the things that I would do in Tasmania if I was part of the state government here is perhaps try and co-ordinate the effort better," said Minister Pyne.

The minister said the SA government's advocacy group Defence SA has helped co-ordinate and streamline the process of bringing together all key players in the industry.

According to Defence SA's mission statement, the advocacy body "is a single point of contact for all defence stakeholders, streamlining their interaction across the South Australian government. Defence SA's mission is to grow the defence industry, and strengthen the Defence Force presence in the state".

Agencies like this "bring together all of the industry players, small companies, large companies ... and they have a plan about how to maximise their work", Minister Pyne said.

"Western Australia is following that model now, Victoria is also following that model, as is Queensland," he said.

"What it needs, and what I think the state government is trying to do, is co-ordinate that capability into something that can be sold in an entire package."

Minister Pyne said this was the advice he was tabling the Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman in a meeting between the two last week.

"That's something I want to discuss with Will (Hodgman), how we can do that more and better because I think the opportunities are immense."

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