WA businesses licking their lips at the prospect of Australia’s $200 billion defence rebuilding program are being urged to get behind a new initiative that will promote their defence capabilities to the world.

The State Government is inviting WA-based enterprises and entrepreneurs to submit assessments of their industrial and innovation capabilities to meet defence requirements.

The data will be published in a directory next year to promote WA industrial capabilities to the Department of Defence’s procurement agencies, defence prime contractors and international markets.

Representing up to 200 areas of new business opportunities, defence requirements are outlined in six Defence Capability Streams: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber; key enablers; land combat and amphibious warfare; strike and air combat; maritime and anti-submarine warfare; and air and sea lift.     

Voluntary assessments by WA businesses of their industrial and innovation capabilities against Defence’s requirements can be submitted to Defence West via a Registration of Interest for inclusion in the directory. 

Funding up for grabs

Businesses with a good defence-related idea may qualify for federal grants designed to foster military innovation.

This week, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced $10 million would be invested over 10 years in Australia’s small and medium enterprises to inspire and attract innovative research proposals from industry.

Pyne says the funding for the initiative, Small Business Innovation Research for Defence, will be provided by the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund to build Australia’s Defence capability.

“The focus of this new program is to get our small and medium-size companies quickly off the starting block so defence can capitalise on their expansive potential for innovation and research capabilities,” he says.

“Australia’s small business sector has a wealth of talent and energy and this program is designed to draw out the best ideas to support our defence capability.”

The two-stage program will provide an initial funding round of $100,000 to research potential technology over six-to-nine months.

The second stage will be tested against the defence application, with funding of up to $750,000 over one-to-two years.

Small to medium enterprises will be required to address future defence problems aligned with the priority areas in the fund.

Pyne strongly encouraged small to medium enterprises to take advantage of this dedicated program and contribute to the development of game-changing capabilities.

The initiative is part of the Government’s $1.6b investment in building the capacity and capability of Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector.

Further information about the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence initiative is available at www.business.gov.au/cdic

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