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Investment in South Australia defence industry skills.

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THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence MARK BUTLER MP Federal Member for Port Adelaide

Tuesday, 18 November 2008 180/2008


The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, and the Federal Member for Port Adelaide, Mark Butler MP, today announced further details of the Government’s $61 million defence industry skills package.

Of particular interest for South Australia are two initiatives worth up to $8.5 million that will see further Commonwealth investment in expanding defence-related postgraduate and doctorate programs, with a particular focus on systems engineering. These initiatives recognise the fact that some of the

largest and most complex defence engineering projects undertaken in Australia are occurring in South Australia, including the construction of Air Warfare Destroyers, support of the Collins submarines, and the anticipated construction of future submarines.

“The Government will invest up to $6 million to provide practical, defence-focussed Professional Doctorate opportunities which blend coursework with research and cater to the needs of the Australian defence sector, in order to increase the capacity and capability of defence industry in the area of systems engineering,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“This program will ensure PhD candidates receive the most up to date coursework and research in systems engineering and ensure they have a clear understanding of systems engineering and its application in the military.”

The program will be accessible by applicants from across Australia and provides fee and work release scholarships for the research component of the program. Defence industry will provide input in the form of lecturers and supervisors.

“This initiative is part of a broader program aimed at providing our local community with the skills and training necessary to benefit from the range of exciting Defence-related jobs in Port Adelaide. Along with an expansion of

trades training in the area, I hope that young people from Port Adelaide and surrounding suburbs take advantage of these opportunities,” said Mr Butler.

The Defence Systems Innovation Centre (DSIC), a joint-initiative between the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia, will work closely with defence industry to develop a program that is appropriate and relevant to the land, air,

sea and electronics domains of defence industry and Defence. The DSIC will also provide the definition and supervision arrangements for the research projects and oversee development and administration of the scholarships.

In the first instance, the professional doctorate degree will be offered by the University of South Australia.

While Defence will work closely with DSIC to ensure the doctorate program meets the needs of defence industry and provide program funding of up to $6 million, the development and implementation of the program will be the Universities responsibility.

The first round of scholarships will be offered in early 2010 with an annual intake of 5 PhD candidates.

The Government will also provide additional funding of $2.5 million to increase access the Masters of Military Systems Integration Program developed by the University of South Australia in partnership with three local defence industry companies - BAE Systems Australia, Saab Systems Australia and ASC Ltd. This course has proven highly successful in equipping senior engineering and project managers with the knowledge and understanding to develop and deliver integrated support solutions for major Defence programs in South Australia.

The additional Commonwealth funding will provide additional places on the Masters Program for industry, military, Defence Materiel Organisation, and Defence Science and Technology Organisation stakeholders. This will go towards addressing the current demand for up to 3,000 additional system engineering-trained personnel in defence industry, as well as meeting the needs of Defence.

These initiatives will lead to improved returns on defence capability development investment, significant de-risking of projects, increased efficiency in acquisition processes and ultimately deliver enhanced defence capability.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664