Mark Hodge, chief executive of the Defence Materials Technology Centre, has talked up the benefits of the Defence Industry Policy Statement, which was released together with the Defence White Paper in 2016.
"Certainly in terms of the processes I think it'll be much clearer, and a much more logical pathway for industry and research sector to engage with the defence customer as we go forward," Hodge told Defence Connect.
The Defence White Paper outlined a comprehensive, long-term plan for Australia’s defence, covering all elements of the government’s defence investment, including new weapons, platforms, systems, along with the enabling equipment, facilities, workforce, ICT and science and technology.
The policy statement aims to refocus Defence’s relationship with Australian industry, underpinning the plans formulated in the Defence White Paper.
The DMTC CEO said he very much approved of the policy statement as well as the government’s push to establish the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and Innovation Hub, which advise the Australian defence sector, support industry growth and facilitate innovation.
"My guess is, is if you ask most people around the industry, they would say the same thing. It's been a really impressive effort," said Hodge.
More specifically, Hodge said the most impressive element of the policy statement was how the government managed to dissect “a fairly disparate program [which had] some really effective elements”.
"They've picked up what was working and that has been maintained and continued through,” he said. “But it's been pulled in under a more co-ordinated umbrella, if you will. I mean, the Defence Industry Policy Statement was really well received."
While Hodge acknowledged there were some concerns in the sector generally about how the policy direction would be implemented, he noted that the terms of reference and clear focus of the policy had been expressed most effectively.
"All of our stakeholders and we ourselves thought it was a terrific document,” he said. "The hard work starts in how you stand up a team to deliver that. That's happened."
Hodge said the Innovation Hub and the CDIC launched last year were now well and truly up and running.
"We're seeing things with the next generation technologies fund that's being delivered under the DST Group," he added. "I understand that that will be released in very short time as well. So there's a fairly clear mechanism of engagement now and it's well understood."