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Council launches Operation Scale-Up targeting defence industry

Ipswich City Council has launched Operation Scale-Up 2021, a pilot program aimed at supporting local businesses to become defence industry ready. 

Successful businesses on this program will receive mentoring from defence industry partners, including Rheinmetall Defence Australia, Boeing Defence Australia, Raytheon Australia, Northrup Grumman Australia, Airbus Australia and RUAG Australia. 

The program will offer 24 regional businesses the opportunity to become defence industry ready by developing an action plan and working with leading defence industry partners over a three-month period. 

Mayor Teresa Harding, who is also chair of the City of Ipswich Defence Industry Development and Attraction Committee (CIDIDAC), said Ipswich is in a prime position to lead the nation in terms of defence industry manufacturing, and Operation Scale-Up 2021 is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to capitalise on defence and advanced manufacturing growth. 

“Ipswich is the home of Australia’s largest Air Force base at Amberley, which provides over 5,000 jobs, and our broader defence sector generates over $1.4 billion in annual export value,” Mayor Harding said. 

“The Rheinmetall LAND 400 Phase 3 bid, which could bring 500 jobs to Ipswich, presents an exciting opportunity for Ipswich based advanced manufacturers. 

“Sovereign capability and sovereign manufacturing are consistent themes in meetings with our Federal and State counterparts.” 

Mayor Harding met with the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, alongside leaders of both major parties, during a recent visit to Canberra with the Council of Mayors (South East Queensland). 

The meetings were held in the wake of the Queensland Government’s agreement on an MOU with Rheinmetall to support its bid for the LAND400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, worth between $18 and $27 billion. On March 31, the Commonwealth Government announced plans to accelerate a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, with manufacturing operations to be based on-shore. 

Mayor Harding said Operation Scale-Up will bring industry, defence, and businesses together to build a robust and resilient regional defence industry. 

“This program will be the first of its kind in Australia being offered by a local government,” she said. 

“This is our commitment to local industry: we will support the development of practical knowledge with investment and initiatives that bring connection and insight. 

“Once the pilot program is established, this model could be extended into other priority industries to build capacity and supply chain capabilities.” 

The council-backed initiative is supported by CIDIDAC, the Department of Defence, and Australian Industry and Defence Network Qld (AIDN Qld). 

Participation in this program is complimentary and is not only open to Ipswich-based businesses, but others from across South East Queensland are invited to apply. 

AIDN Qld president Carl Quarterman encouraged all SMEs to apply for this program to gain an in-depth awareness of defence opportunities, evaluate gaps, and scale up to become defence supply chain ready. 

If your business is interested in this program please apply through council’s Smarty Grants by Tuesday 20 April 2021.

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