Former parliamentary secretary for defence procurement Greg Combet said, in recent years, the South Australian Labor government has worked successfully to concentrate on developing the state's defence industry and manufacturing sector.
Combet, the former chairman of SA's Automotive Transformation Taskforce, said one former SA premier, Mike Rann, was instrumental in preparing the state for a shift away from automotive manufacturing – a sensible decision with the recent withdrawals of Holden, Toyota and Ford from Australia.
"We'd seen in recent years, of course, the concentrated effort of the South Australian government, which to the credit of Mike Rann as premier a number of years ago," Combet said.
"He knew the auto sector, the commercial automobile manufacturing sector, was going to be phasing down. It's just sub-scale in Australia. Mike Rann decided to concentrate the South Australian government efforts on defence."
Combet's comments echo those of his colleagues who have praised the state's commitment and sophistication in its approach to defence pitches.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, who is a federal member for the SA seat of Sturt, recently said other states like Tasmania should try and emulate certain aspects of SA's tactics in the defence industry.
"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.
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.
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".
The minister noted that other states have since followed his home state's approach.
"Western Australia is following that model now, Victoria is also following that model, as is Queensland," Minister Pyne said.
SA was chosen over WA and Victoria as the construction site for the $50 billion Future Submarine Program.
The state will also construct two Offshore Patrol Vessels before starting work on nine future frigates, part of the $35 billion SEA 5000 project.
Recently, Saab Australia announced it will invest up to $40 million to establish a defence institute in Adelaide in partnership with the University of South Australia to prepare for SA workers for an expected increase in defence jobs.
The world's largest aerospace company, Boeing, has also opened its newest office in Adelaide as part of its plans for expansion in the Australian defence industry.
The state is also leading the pack in Australia's expansion into the aerospace industry, putting forward a bid to establish itself as a hub for space industry research and development.