The importance of a strong Australian defence industry export market has never been more important, with government and industry coming together to create a strategy that will be released soon.
In March this year, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne revealed work was underway on the Defence Export Strategy, a new component of the 2016 Defence White Paper.
At the time, the minister said, "Currently we rank fifth in the world for defence imports, but 20th in the world for exports.
"We will strive to reverse those numbers. The Turnbull government will release a Defence Export Strategy later this year to plan, guide and measure defence export outcomes."
A spokesperson for Minister Pyne told Defence Connect that while no official date has been scheduled, "the Defence Export Strategy is currently under development by Defence and is scheduled to be released late in 2017".
"Extensive consultation is underway between Defence, industry and DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] to ensure the strategy works coherently to help open up new export markets for Australian defence materiel," the spokesperson said.
Minister Pyne said that the new strategy will be in line with the government's economic objectives and will aim to enhance Australia's future economic prosperity.
"This [the strategy] will be in support of our economic, foreign and trade policy objectives, and defence capabilities and national security goals," he said in March.
Earlier this week, Attorney-General George Brandis joined the list of politicians calling for increased export opportunities for Australia’s defence industry.
"Australia has a very, very strong technical capability in defence industry and there are export opportunities to be sought," Brandis told Sky News.
Defence Connect recently spoke with Richard Marles, opposition spokesman for defence, who has also called for a strong defence export industry, stressing that developing a sustainable and innovative defence export industry will be crucial if Australia is to avoid another crippling valley of death within the defence industry, one that is being experienced at present.
"We are dealing with the valley of death, really, in relation to shipbuilding right now," Marles told Defence Connect.
"Between the completion of the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer, and whenever building ramps up for the OPVs [Offshore Patrol Vessels] and the Future Frigates going forward. That sort of valley of death is going to be a recurring feature unless we get our companies engaged in doing shipbuilding for other parts of the world. It needs to be export focused."