South Australia’s Defence Teaming Center (DTC), the Henderson Alliance, the Victorian Defence Alliance and AIDN Victoria and WA have celebrated the launch of their pilot Maritime Supply Chain Showcase in Fremantle.
The defence industry bodies came together to lead the way in supporting interstate collaboration to ensure Australia's SMEs find success through partnerships and co-operation.
The three days involved visiting Henderson-based businesses and port facilities, attending presentations on the latest developments on support available to the defence industry, collaborative workshops, round table meetings and networking opportunities. Close to 150 interstate defence industry delegates attended the inaugural 2018 Maritime Supply Showcase.
The launch of this tri-state initiative had its genesis following a visit by members of the Victorian Defence Alliance to South Australia, the Osborne Shipyard and a number of SA businesses late last year.
"Collaboration is the future and the current model of states competing for work is counterintuitive, it’s holding us back as a nation and hampering the government's vision for Australian industry capability," said Kristian Constantinides, AIDN WA chairperson.
DTC chief executive Margot Forster said events like the showcase are crucial to building teaming arrangements between businesses across Australia.
"The Maritime Supply Chain Showcase held in WA was not just about improving the overall understanding of the capabilities of Australian companies, but also getting to know each other to build the trust that is critical to successful teaming arrangements," Forster said.
"This was a fantastic step towards realising our national approach to delivering defence capability."
Rohan Green, Henderson Alliance chairperson, said this collaboration between SMEs will be crucial for small businesses looking to secure a piece of the work in Australia's growing defence industry.
"The Henderson Alliance advocates the importance of collaboration; it is our view point that SMEs should be integral to the defence industries current growth phase," Green said.
"If SMEs do not work together to secure contracts many defence industry SMEs, regardless of their state, will miss out on the work. It is crucial that we take parochialism out of the equation and work together to ensure our defence industry develops sovereign capability."
The showcase also had a focus on shipbuilding skilling, education and STEM, and how the states can collaborate to build and support this very important workforce skilling initiative.
While Victoria will not be a one of the key hubs for Australian shipbuilding, Claire Willette, CEO of AIDN Victoria, said engagement and partnerships between states will help take the projects to a national level.
"This sort of engagement enables and fosters national capacity building, and given the enthusiasm with which it was met by industry, further expansion across all states is our next target," Willette said.
The event enabled over 200 business-to-business introductions across state borders and is only the first of many such events, with a similar event expected to be held in SA in the coming months.