Minister for Defence Industry/CASG/Industry Reps – phone hook-up 17 April 2020

Minister Price: 

  • 2200 Defence personnel deployed in support of the COVID 19 health crisis – very much appreciated and doing great work in support of the nation.
  • Government feels the range of measures in place has made the health crisis manageable, but very much aware and looking to assist where possible the impacts on the community.
  • Industry and community need to remain disciplined and ensure measures are in place to keep the workplace safe – defence industry doing a particularly good job in that context.
    • Acknowledge difficulties posed by social distancing in the workplace.
  • Focus by industry in minimising travel and using locally based personnel to support.
  • CDIC and AIC independent reviews will continue in this environment as they essential to Defence industry in the country. Key priorities:
    • Enhance CASG performance delivery to be a ‘strong client’.
    • Expand small business access to Defence.
    • Increase the number of exporting Australian businesses.
    • Build Australia’s skilled defence industry workforce.
    • Ensuring Defence’s grants, innovation, science and technology programs are contributing to enhance ADF capability.
  • CDIC and Defence putting in a lot of effort to determine what conferencing/information can be digitised, with a focus also on training for industry and upskilling in the digital sense
  • Australia will come out of COVID-19 earlier than other countries, must now plan for it – make sure use current time to get ready.
  • Very happy with the cash payments regime now in place to both primes and SMEs – 65,000 invoices paid to the tune of $4.9B, with 70% paid early. Again please advise if there are any hold ups in this process.
  • Recovery Deed process/drafting progressing well – industry input to CASG important.
  • Defence continues to contribute to the WoG approach to this crisis and very much appreciated what we are all doing to support the nation.

Industry Reps Broad Issues:

  • Seems to be a real sense of confidence within the Defence SME industry and due to the processes put in place by government and CASG, industry is able to maintain a good manufacturing momentum.
    • In general, defence industry quite positive to date.
  • A lot more talk about Sovereign Industry Capability and doing more in Australia.
  • Working on virtual defence export concept.
  • From Ian Irving (CEO Ship Building College) – ship building still open for business, a lot of courses online.
  • What processes have been put in place is very good for understanding, building up and sustaining sovereign industry capability in this country.
    • An excellent model for how we operate in the defence and broader industry space in the future.
    • This should be business as usual and a great learning opportunity as we emerge from this crisis.
  • As previously mentioned, much work now going into the digitised delivery model for key aspects of defence training/workshops/conferences as we move through this crisis.
  • An independent review of the Australian Government’s Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) is underway with the aim to strengthen support for small and regional businesses to take up opportunities in Australia’s growing defence industry.
    • Support from the industry representative community for the progression of the CDIC and AiC reviews. Very important that the lessons we are learning today are a part of that process.
  • A few challenges in terms of inbound air and sea freight from Asia, US outbound air freight transit is getting better – thanks to CASG.
  • Some SMEs still working through personnel rates of effort, Jobkeeper allowance expected to help out where needed.
    • Still some lumpy cashflow and longish lead times in some areas of the commercial sector.
    • Main goal is to last as long as possible. Suppliers still seem to be able to deliver
  • Some problems being experienced in the ICT industry domain in supporting such a push and demand for online services. Issues paper to be prepared by ACT industry team to highlight to CASG.
  • Tim Owen mentioned that Hunter New England Health was really in need of PPE help and working closely with local defence industry to try and assist.
    • CASG will try to help with PPE support (via Dan Fankhauser).
    • Tim Owen will continue to follow that up on Monday.
  • SME personnel quarantining can be an issue.
    • Updated cross-border travel restrictions – included defence travel as essential travel so need for quarantine.
    • If essential travel needs to be undertaken which requires staff to be quarantined following – who carries the financial burden of this?
    • CASG will cover those costs – working out how best to reimburse/cover those costs.
    • CASG on the front foot here to work the best model for industry.

Download Attachment – Minister Price AIC OP-ED (PDF): WA Defence Review – AIC OpEd

Share your feedback direct with our Chairman Tim Owen

How Hunter Defence Can Help:

  • The Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) has been tasked to be the primary coordination agency between Defence and Industry. Hunter Defence is engaging closely with CDIC and we ask you to please come to Hunter Defence in the first instance so we can table ideas and issues
    • Hunter Defence is involved in weekly conference calls with CASG and Ministers when available.  Hunter Defence is the only regional cooperative group included in these calls outside of the state bodies.
    • Hunter Defence is also in weekly contact via conference call with Defence NSW and is working closely with the NSW state government in looking at ways and means of supporting NSW Defence Industry businesses.
  • Take this opportunity to advise Tim Owen what your issues are
    • Tim has been successful in the last two weeks in bringing attention to the higher Defence organisations the plight of regional SMEs
  • Hunter Defence, in coordination with AIDN, is working to convert the Defence Readiness Seminar Series to an online format, with support from the Federal Government. This will ensure access to relevant training is available for regional SMEs in the Hunter to during this very difficult period.

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