Government unveils $1b defence industry package

By Shannon Jenkins

August 26, 2020

Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Braeden McGuinness answers questions from the panel about his concept to establish an innovation hub at HMAS Albatross during the Fleet Air Arm Shark Tank. The fifth Royal Australian Navy annual Fleet Air Arm Shark Tank was held at HMAS Albatross, New South Wales, on 31 October 2018. It provided an opportunity for grassroots innovative ideas and strategies to be presented to Navy’s senior leadership. It is an element of the overall Fleet Air Arm innovation strategy. Image: Defence

An additional 500 Australian Defence Force reservists will be recruited over the next two years as part of an investment package unveiled by the federal government on Wednesday.

The $1 billion package would boost Australia’s defence industry and support around 4000 jobs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Defence innovation, industry grants, skilling and micro credentialing and cyber training for Defence industry would receive additional funding, as well as ADF capability development projects.

Under the package, a national estate works program worth $300 million would focus on a number of regional areas including the RAAF Base in East Sale, the Albury Wodonga Military Area, and Blamey Barracks, while $190 million would bring forward approved infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory.

The funds would also speed up the “sustainment of ADF platforms and capabilities”, including the “modernisation” of ADF uniforms, and C-27J aircraft maintenance conducted by ex-Qantas and Virgin technicians.

Read more: The internal risks to Australia’s new defence strategy

The government has also awarded Canberra-based company DATAPOD a two-year $20 million contract to provide the Department of Defence with portable, containerised data systems which would be rapidly deployed by sea, air or road.

“By bringing forward this acquisition, we will help to protect up to 27 direct and up to 80 supply chain jobs,” Morrison said.

Defence minister Linda Reynolds told reporters the company was “an example of extraordinary Australian innovation”.

“They’re a great example of a company who started in the mining sector, providing these services in very harsh and dusty conditions which we now use around the world,” she said.

Last month the government announced it would spend $270 billion on capability upgrades for the ADF over the next 10 years as part of its new strategic policy and force structure plan.

Read more: ‘More lethal and long-range capabilities’: Government invests $270b in defence


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