How Ipswich businesses can cash in on transformation of Australia’s Defence industry

Defence Ipswich 2018 summit guest speaker Dr Karen Stanton says this is the beginning of a transformation era for the Australian Defence industry and local businesses have a unique opportunity.

“The current climate is fostering an enduring partnership between Defence and industry,” said Dr Stanton, the Managing Director of Heat Treatment Australia as well as a Board Member of the Centre of Defence Industry Capability (CDIC).

“There are many new opportunities on the horizon, with significant activity in Defence industry now and into the foreseeable future.

“The opportunities are significant and extensive for those companies that can meet the demands of entering and maintaining a Defence industry presence.

“Don’t lose sight of your core business, ensure you always diversify revenue streams and be in it for the long game.”

Dr Stanton will be speaking in the Defence and Industry Collaboration and Cooperation session of the Ipswich City Council’s inaugural Defence Ipswich summit, at USQ Springfield Central campus on 20 November.

She will draw on her experience in transitioning companies from traditional manufacturing towards advanced manufacturing and other industry experience.

Heat Treatment Australia is an innovative advanced manufacturing company offering thermal processing services that strengthen metal parts for industries including aerospace, aviation, defence, medical, rail, automotive, mining and agriculture.

HTA manufacturers F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft parts and includes global defence and aerospace clients such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Harris, BAE Systems and Parker.

“Our first involvement in the JSF program was when the Australian Government approached us to develop vacuum brazing capability in-country. We then did a whole lot of R&D, bought equipment and commercialised it,” Dr Stanton said.

Dr Stanton said Queensland is well recognised as an aerospace and defence hub and prime contractors can access its critical mass of talent, technology and experience to successfully integrate their supply chains.

Industry is at the forefront of all defence procurement programs, including:

  • Joint Strike Fighter program
  • Future submarines, frigates, offshore patrol vessels, pacific control boats
  • New combat and infantry fighting vehicles
  • Key enablers – communications, intelligence, training, infrastructure.

Dr Stanton said the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) was working with industry to build a strong industrial base in Australia.

That includes providing specialist defence facilitators and business advisers; funding and grant opportunities; Defence export advice and assistance (eg. Global Supply Chain program); innovation facilitation (Innovation Hub and Next Generation Technologies Fund); as well as strategic sector leadership.

She said businesses wanting to make the journey had to ensure they have a sound financial basis that can support Defence efforts, plus continue with their current business and maximise traditional and existing revenue streams.

Dr Stanton said they had to be “Defence ready” with a capability, product or service that is valuable to the Australian Defence Force.

“There has to be a buy in from the SME stakeholders – directors, owners, staff – and an awareness of the depth and breadth of the requirements to achieve success within Defence industry,” she said.

“Businesses need to build relationships – including primes, supply chain, government, customers. They need to travel and have a presence in international markets – go to the source. They need time, for long lead-time opportunities. They need transparency – your business will be subject to scrutiny.

“And importantly, they need commitment to a long journey, from engagement to sales; and persistence and patience.”

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