The Turnbull government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan has revealed it hopes to increase the number of women in the industry, as well as Indigenous companies.
The document said the government is looking at ways to optimise the representation of women in the naval shipbuilding workforce but, beyond the mention of a communications strategy, it has fallen short of detailing how it will achieve this.
"Women are currently under-represented in the naval shipbuilding workforce. The government is investigating options to promote greater representation of women," the blueprint reads.
The plan said a national communications strategy "to encourage workers into the naval shipbuilding industry will be undertaken" and that it hopes initiatives from the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement will aid in attracting a diverse workforce.
"Together with national science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives included in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, this will provide a focus on attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce in naval shipbuilding and defence industry more broadly, increasing access to the considerable skills and capability reflected across the Australian community," the plan said.
The document is also targeting contributions from Indigenous companies, on the back of a successful increase of government expenditure in 2015-16.
"Indigenous companies will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Naval Shipbuilding Plan, under the government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy. In 2015-16, Defence spent around $149 million with Indigenous suppliers registered with Supply Nation; more than half of that year’s Commonwealth government expenditure with Indigenous companies," the plan said.
"This achievement was recently recognised in the Supply Nation annual award for Defence as ‘Government Member of the Year’. By working with Supply Nation and Indigenous companies such as Pacific Services Group, and the Indigenous Defence Consortium, Defence is enabling opportunities for Indigenous companies to be involved in this national endeavour in naval shipbuilding."
The plan states that starting small and growing the program is the most sustainable way to grow the influence of Indigenous comapanies within the industry.
" By starting small and growing with the program, Indigenous companies will be able to develop their capability and capacity in a sustainable way and create enduring job opportunities for indigenous people," the plan said.