The Federal Government has invested $430,000 in a ground-breaking program designed to help suppliers break into the defence industry.
Hunter Defence, a group of industry stakeholders in the Hunter Region of NSW, developed the Defence Ready program in conjunction with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC), Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) and Goal Group. It aims to address gaps in local capability.
ICN NSW Consultant, and Hunter Defence member, Dusko Bajic, said that when Defence opportunities were available in the region, it was apparent there was both a “lack of understanding or lack of capabilities with prospective suppliers in the Hunter Valley.”
“They needed basic training, firstly, to understand what opportunities there were and then to decide whether or not to go into the defence sector,” he said.
The 13 seminars have been grouped into three categories:
- Explorer: For suppliers with little or no knowledge of the Defence industry.
- Exponent: For suppliers entering the Defence market and wanting to learn more.
- Expert: For companies already supplying to Defence and needing specific skills around export, security or International Standard.
In announcing $450,000 funding for the pilot project, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the pilot would help businesses who are new to working with Defence, as well as those wanting to be more competitive when bidding for Defence work.
“Regional businesses like those in the Hunter provide crucial support to Defence,” Minister Price said.
“They are supporting Australia’s security and ensuring our nation can achieve a robust, sovereign defence industry.
“The Defence Ready Pilot is all about helping more local businesses win Defence work.
“It will provide free online workshops to Hunter region businesses to help them understand what it takes to work with Defence, and how to navigate the defence industry landscape.”
Hunter Defence Chair, Tim Owen, said the funding would boost Hunter business participation in the defence industry and recognised the work of the Hunter Defence Task Force to increase defence opportunities for regional suppliers.
“Defence is an important industry to the Hunter and provides significant opportunities for SMEs to pivot as our regional economy continues to diversify,” Tim said.
“We have been working closely with Minister Price and the federal and state governments to promote regional capability and this partnership demonstrates the value they see in the work we are doing with industry in the Hunter.”
According to Dusko, the relationship between ICN and HunterNet – the company behind Hunter Defence – is mutually beneficial. Hunter Defence gets timely information about Defence Opportunities, and ICN has access to Hunter Defence’s network to let suppliers know when opportunities are available.
“We are listing defence opportunities and I need to broadcast when opportunities are available to companies ready to respond,” he said. Meanwhile, he has connected Hunter Defence to several prime Defence contractors, including Rheinmetall.
The Hunter Defence Ready pilot is a unique opportunity for local businesses to learn more about supplying to the Defence industry. If successful, it could be rolled out across the country.
The seminars are expected to start later this month and continue for the next 10-12 months.
For more information, or to register your interest in a seminar, go to the Hunter Defence website.