Hunter Defence


Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in conversation with The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon will be one of the highlights of the two-day 2024 Hunter Defence Conference scheduled for 21 and 22 August 2024.

Defence Industry Adviser and Hunter Defence Taskforce Chair, Tim Owen AM said the focus from the Australian Government on a defence strategy alongside budgeted investment planning meant there was significant opportunity for Hunter industry.

“The National Defence Strategy was released in April 2024 and it has six immediate priorities, all of which could provide opportunity for Hunter-based primes as well as small to medium enterprises.”

A priority objective of the Strategy is advancing conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability. Attendees will hear first-hand (albeit virtually) from former Prime Minister and now Ambassador of Australia to the United States The Hon Kevin Rudd AC who will provide an update on AUKUS, the strategic partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“A key part of AUKUS is developing robust and resilient, sovereign supply chains and this is where the Hunter defence industry can make a significant contribution.”

“The Hunter defence industry is highly capable, and the Hunter Defence Conference is the gateway for government, industry and defence forces to come together to help address Australia’s strategic risks.”

“This is reiterated in the recently released Defence Industry Development Strategy which recognising the defence industry as a critical partner in providing the deterrence our strategic circumstances demands.”

The 2024 Hunter Defence Conference agenda has been released, with speakers across government, defence forces, defence primes and industry.


Day one – Defence investment, capability development and working with defence primes

NSW Premier The Hon Chris Minns will headline the first day’s events, followed by a discussion on AUKUS by the Hon Kevin Rudd in conversation with the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon. Peter Cock will outline the Astra Aerolab innovation precinct and potential advantages for local defence industry. Senior leaders will provide valuable insight on strategy, funding and opportunity on behalf of Strategic Analysis Australia, Australian Defence Forces, BAE Systems Australia, Boeing Defence Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia and Hanwha Defense Australia.  Conference attendees and presenters will participate in dedicated networking functions unique to the Hunter Defence Conference.

Day two – Defence technology, industry support and SME compatibility

AUKUS and sub-surface technology will start day two followed by a panel discussion on funding options including local angel investors and venture capitalists interested in supporting innovative and growing businesses.  Artificial Intelligence is impacting the defence sector, and we will explore associated AI trends and opportunities. The day will conclude with an SME panel of three local defence businesses discussing the challenges and the opportunity outlooks for businesses operating within the current defence environment.  The conference will conclude with a networking social and gala dinner highlighted by a keynote address from The Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for Defence Industry.


The 2024 National Defence Strategy outlines the Government’s strategic framework to guide the significant and urgent changes required to address Australia’s challenging strategic circumstances. 

Together with the rebuilt Integrated Investment Program, the National Defence Strategy is a blueprint to deliver an ambitious transformation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to an integrated, focused force capable of safeguarding Australia’s security for decades to come.

Find out more about the National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program.


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