Defence supply chains put under a spotlight


James Riley
Editorial Director

The federal government has ordered an urgent review of the effectiveness of long standing Defence program designed to identify opportunities for Australian companies to plug into the global industry supply chains of eight multinational defence suppliers.

Defence Industry minister Melissa Price said the review of the Global Supply Chain Program will begin by the end of the month, led by public service medal recipient and former secretary to the Education department Lisa Paul.

The terms of reference for the review were released by Ms Price yesterday, with its recommendations expected to be delivered to the minister by October.

The Paul Review is a key recommendation of a study commissioned in 2019 by the co-chairs of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) advisory board, Kate Carnell and Tony Fraser. That review was handed to government a year ago, in July 2020.

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The Centre for Defence Industry Capability currently manages the Global Supply Chain Program on behalf of Defence.

“We need these small and medium businesses to be a part of our robust, resilient, and internationally-competitive Australian sovereign defence industrial base,” Ms Price said in a statement.

“They must be aligned to our whole-of-government plan to support the economy and achieve our strategic and capability goals.

“This review will enable Defence to provide further, more targeted support to Australian businesses wanting to work with multinational defence companies,” she said.

“It will also look at ways to better incentivise the achievement of these outcomes among participating businesses.”

Meanwhile, Ms Price last week unveiled 10 new contracts worth nearly $20 million with local defence industry businesses via the government’s Defence Innovation Hub.

Ms Price said the Defence Innovation Hub’s investment strategy had already played “a transformative role” for Australia’s small-to-medium businesses and the way in which they innovate and support Defence requirements.

“It is rewarding to have Australian businesses continue their partnership with the Hub and mature their innovations towards delivering the future capabilities that Defence needs,” Ms Price said.

Nine of the 10 new contracts will let companies continue developing promising technologies that have already benefited from previous Defence Innovation Hub funding.

The contracts were awarded to businesses in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia in support of Army and Navy capabilities.

“I am particularly delighted to announce a $2.7 million contract with Western Australia’s Mission Systems Australia to further develop a networked underwater acoustic sensor for Navy,” Minister Price said. This is the largest Hub contract awarded to a WA company to date.”

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