NSW launches new Defence strategy

21 February 2017

The NSW Government has launched a new Defence industry strategy and will establish a central co-ordination body – Defence NSW – to drive growth across the industry.

The strategy, Strong, Smart and Connected, will provide a major boost to regional NSW, strengthen the economy and further support Australia’s Defence needs.

Industry Minister Niall Blair said the Australian Government’s Defence White Paper outlined programs and acquisitions worth more than $195 billion over the coming decade.

“It’s vital that NSW positions itself to take advantage of the significant opportunities for growth,” he said.

“Every $1 billion in Commonwealth Defence spending we can attract to NSW will boost our Gross State Product by $1.4 billion and support up to 10,000 jobs across the economy."

Mr Blair said Defence NSW would be based in Western Sydney and target the delivery of major projects including the Joint Strike Fighter, Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (LAND400).

“Through Defence NSW, we will work with the Commonwealth and other States and Territories to move towards a more national approach to meeting Australia’s Defence needs,” he said.

“This detailed strategy will provide a coordinated, whole of government approach to prioritise the defence sector as a key driver of growth and innovation across industry, especially in regional NSW.

NSW is home to more than 80 Defence bases and facilities – more than any other state – and Defence invests $5.5 billion annually in its operational expenditure.

Defence and the industry that supports it directly employs more than 26,500 people in NSW and is one of the key drivers of economic growth in many regional areas.

Mr Blair said Defence NSW would also focus on major maritime programs like Future Submarines, Offshore Patrol Vessels, and Future Frigate.

“One of the five main strategies in the Defence and Industry Strategy is to sustain and grow the defence industry across regional NSW,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to say we are expecting this work will boost economies across the state, particularly in in the Hunter, Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Riverina, Northern NSW and Capital regions.”

Australian Industry Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said AIG Defence Council members had worked closely with NSW Government representatives during development of the defence industry strategy.

“The strategy emphasises innovative sovereign industry capabilities available within local defence industry companies, including in regional areas of the NSW, which are essential for equipping and sustaining Australia's Defence Force in an increasingly challenging strategic environment," he said.

NSW has also received a significant proportion of national Defence funding, with Defence related operation generating $5.4 billion annually.

Australian Industry and Defence Network NSW president, Medhat Wasset, said AIDN NSW was heartened by this initiative from the NSW Government and Industry Minister Niall Blair in particular.

“This is an excellent next step in the long term partnership between Government and the defence industry in NSW with the formation of Defence NSW and recognition of the critical importance of SMEs in the industry,” he said.

“It is critical that the Government continues to show the leadership needed to support a thriving NSW defence industry and we look forward to continuing the strong collaboration with them and the NSW Defence Advocate Air Marshall John Harvey to achieve the Strategy's objectives."

Systems based in NSW are some of the most complex in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

This includes a significant portion of the RAN fleet, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and Naval Aviation capabilities.

Regional strengths have developed as a results of base requirements, for example rotary wing expertise in the Shoalhaven, naval sustainment in Sydney and fast jet sustainment in the Hunter.

Hunternet chief executive, Tony Cade, said the NSW Government’s wisdom in identifying the potential that exists within the sector and recognising regional strengths.

“Delivering on this potential will require a long term commitment and investment by the NSW Government, and continued collaboration with industry, and Hunternet is looking forward to working with Defence NSW."