State steps up push for defence

31 May, 2017

CCI has strongly welcomed the State Government’s move to establish Defence West in an effort to win more defence work in WA.

Defence West will prepare a defence strategy, appoint a defence advocate and a panel of specialists to champion the interests of WA’s defence industry.

It will establish a biennial Indian Ocean trade show in Perth to promote the State's capabilities.

CCI chief executive Deidre Willmott says it’s an important initiative that will help ensure WA’s world-class defence industry receives its fair share of the Commonwealth’s billion-dollar defence contracts.

She says Western Australia needs a ‘Team WA’ approach to progress its involvement in defence for the national interest.

“Establishing a part of Government dedicated to this work and an influential defence advocate has been a long-term position of CCI, and we’re pleased Premier Mark McGowan is honouring this pre-election commitment.

“An important task for Defence West, our state’s first-ever dedicated Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia, and the soon-to-be-appointed defence advocate will be to lead the ‘Team WA’ effort and raise the profile of WA’s world-class defence industry, which is critical to ensuring our state adequately contributes to the national shipbuilding effort.”

Willmott says WA is a global leader in shipbuilding and defence, with a sophisticated defence supply chain boasting more than 180 expert contractors and manufacturers.

“Having a dedicated defence advocacy body for our state will help ensure that our advanced defence capability is understood and appreciated on the east coast,” she says.

“WA now needs to execute the strategy to secure the home porting and the long-term maintenance and sustainment of the offshore patrol vessels, the Collins class fleet, future frigates and other naval vessels.

“The WA business community needs to be heavily involved in the development of this strategy, which should also focus on developing the infrastructure to support our long-term commitment to defence.

Willmott says CCI will meet with McGowan, Papalia and Lands and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to discuss WA’s defence future and the critical role the business community will play.

“CCI and members of the WA Defence Industry Council will travel to Canberra next month, to highlight WA’s advanced capabilities to our national defence colleagues.”

Premier Mark McGowan says defence has been identified as a key pillar for diversifying the State’s economy.

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