Why competition for defence work among the states can be positive

Why competition for defence work among the states can be positive

Defence Connect has reported extensively on the current procurement process that sees states going head-to-head to secure lucrative defence work, a process that has come under fire by key industry figures. But one has said the state v state mentality may not be entirely negative.

Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre's managing director and former Airbus Group Australia Pacific MD Jens Goennemann has said the strong interest and tough competition among the Australian states and territories can only be seen as a positive for the manufacturing and defence industry.

"First of all, I see it as positive there's an interest in manufacturing, rather than the question 'Do we need manufacturing?'," Goennemann said.

"We need manufacturing to make complex things, so there is no way around it. The interest is positive.

"If we would not see local governments fighting for their share, well that would be bad. Because it would show me, 'Why bother?'"

Goennemann, a self-declared agnostic on defence procurement builds, also stressed that all decisions should be bipartisan.

"Secondly, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre is a federal initiative and totally bipartisan ... There is no Labor economic policy, or Liberal economic policy, there's only the right one or the wrong one. And it should be bipartisan," said Goenneman.

The former Airbus MD added that, along with serving the best interests of the nation, defence procurements must also be focused on developing sustainable workforces and industries.

"What serves the country is what should be done, and by transforming manufacturing, making it more globally competitive, that creates the demand for jobs. You just don't do, you don't say, 'Let's have more jobs'. How do you do that? You can bury money and have people digging for it. Here you create a job. But it's not meaningful, it's not sustainable," Goennemann said.

"For Australia, we need to transform, we need to be a globally competitive country, and we need to focus on areas where we're good at, and defence can be a fantastic primer for that."

To hear more from Jens Goennemann, listen to our podcast here.

 

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