West Australian government officials have put forward an ambitious pitch to the federal government to establish a new hub in WA aimed at enhanced collaboration of Australian Defence Force personnel and industry players.
WA Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia spoke with Defence Connect about the plans for the hub, which he said would be a golden opportunity for WA to seek greater investment from the defence ministry and greater activity in WA.
"What we proposed is they consider establishing a special operations hub in Western Australia where we can put special operations personnel in contact with relevant industry players to look at problems that ... they're encountering, the challenges they're confronting, and work towards identifying or delivering a potential solution," Minister Papalia said.
The minister added that this method would also allow for greater export potential, both domestically and overseas.
"We would hope that ... those solutions, not only would they meet the needs and solve the problems that are confronting special forces personnel, but they might then offer opportunity for roll out to the wider defence community or for other markets, domestic or overseas markets, potentially a greater demand or a greater opportunity for our industry players," Minister Papalia said.
The Defence Issues Minister's pitch to the government came less than a week after WA launched the new advocacy office Defence West and followed criticisms of the Liberal government and what Minister Papalia deems to be an unfair split of shipbuilding work across South Australia and WA.
But, Minister Papalia insisted the meeting was well-received, despite these public criticisms.
"We're both very positive, constructive and ... can work together to ensure Western Australia gets, in my view, a better share [of] the contribution. It was a productive conversation," he said.
"I advocated for the government to consider doing a module or build of frigates, and also sharing the frigate build between West Australia and South Australia. Technically, I can't say that they agreed with us on that. We just agreed to disagree over the current proposal. I'll continue to advocate for that."