Western Australia's Minister for Defence Industry Paul Papalia spoke with Defence Connect about what WA is doing to bring innovation to its local economy, as well as the ADF and its capabilities.
Minister Papalia has been a strong advocate for the state's maritime and submarine capabilities, but on the back of losing out on a majority of Australia's $89 billion shipbuilding work to South Australia, the minister is looking forward and targeting ways WA can still put these maritime capabilities to good use.
"We know that mines work in the ocean, in the maritime environment is a real issue confronting the navy. We'd like to put navy operators, users together with potential industry players to develop capability in that field. Again, they'd be objective of meeting their demands and meeting their requirements, giving them a capability, but also developing an export potential, and export opportunities.
Along with this capability stream, the minister said the state is also looking at other areas in the IIP and will be putting ideas forward to the Department of Defence and federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.
"There's other areas we're looking at as well. The improvised explosive devices, countering those," Minister Papalia said.
"Right now we'll be focused on working with the Minister for Defence Industries in particular about how we progress getting the concept approved up and go forward with the concept. We will make a more complex submission to the Defence Industries Minister probably in the next three months. With the view to try to bring forth funding for those particular parts of the Integrated Investment Program."
Minister Papalia is hopeful this focus, while waiting for future naval projects and sustainment work to begin, will help bridge the gap in employment as the state transitions from the mining and mineral sector to defence,
"Western Australia, we want to fill the gaps for our industry right now, that we have following the transition in commodity sector. Before ultimately the longer term benefit in the way of sustainment of the fleet comes into play," he said.
"The ships that they're talking about building now won't be coming into the service for some time. There won't be sustainment opportunities for some time. We need to maintain and support our defence industries now, so that they are there when we need them in the future."
The six capability streams of the IIP are:
- Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Space and Cyber;
- Key Enablers;
- Air and Sea Lift;
- Maritime and Anti-Submarine Warfare;
- Strike and Air Combat; and
- Land Combat and Amphibious Warfare.
The full IIP can be viewed here.