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Combet chairs industry roundtable in Adelaide.

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Minister for Defence Media Mail List


Greg Combet, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, today chaired a roundtable meeting with representatives of the South Australian Government, unions and the defence industry sector.

To ensure the Australian Defence Force is properly equipped to protect Australia's people and interests, the Government has committed to growing the defence budget at an average of three per cent in real terms in every year to 2017-18, an additional two years beyond earlier announcements," Mr Combet said.

"However a number of problems such as skills shortages, an ageing workforce and barriers to entry to the defence market are making it difficult to increase our industry capacity to meet the growing demand.

The Roundtable provides the opportunity for stakeholders to provide their ideas on how to overcome such problems directly to me and to Defence. Defence and industry need to work together if Australian companies are to provide the support the ADF needs.

"It is very important that stakeholders such as state governments, unions and large and small defence companies all get an opportunity to comment on and contribute to defence industry policy settings," Mr Combet said.

The Government has made it clear that we will not be returning to industry policy of old, meaning there will be no offsets or mandatory local content rules. The Government expects industry to be competitive and able to deliver the capabilities needed by the ADF.

The Government is keen to hear from the industry about how to address the challenges they face and how we can help them increase their productivity so they remain competitive.

"State Governments have a vital role to play when it comes to the provision of infrastructure and skills training and I am pleased that the Deputy Premier of South Australia, Kevin Foley, was able to attend and hear from those around the table," said Mr Combet.

Mr Combet also discussed with the participants a number of initiatives implemented by the Rudd Labor Government over the last six months that would benefit defence industry including: * Australian Industry Capability Program to help local competitive Australian companies access the global supply chains of large defence companies; * The Defence and Industry ePortal to help the Australian defence industry advertise its capabilities to customers and other suppliers both within and outside of

Australia; * Defence Export Unit to help Australian Defence Industry take their products to the international market; * Measures to combat the skills shortage including $1.9 billion over the next five years to fund up to 630,000 new training places, and $2.5 billion over the next decade to establish Trade Training Centres in secondary schools; and * Enterprise Connect and Manufacturing Centres to help Industry find and adopt the


latest technology, get help in solving problems and adopt new business processes.

The Government is currently considering a number of further initiatives designed to help industry address the challenges they face and expected some announcements would be made later this year following further consultation with the industry and relevant stakeholders," said Mr Combet.

However, Mr Combet added that "Government expects all defence companies and the unions to play a major role in addressing the challenges facing defence industry and not to just sit back and expect Government to provide all of the answers."

The Roundtable consisted of about 20 participants including representatives from the large prime contractors as well as small- and medium-sized companies, industry associations, unions and the State Government.

Media contacts: Rod Hilton (Greg Combet): 02 6277 4771 or 0458 276 619 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

THE HON GREG COMBET MP Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement

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