Advisory board to drive defence industry strategy in North Qld

The North Queensland Defence Advisory Board has met for the first time in Townsville to discuss future strategies for the region’s defence industry.

The board meeting brought together industry leaders who will provide strategic advice to the government for the growing of North Queensland’s defence industry and supply chain.

Queensland’s state development and manufacturing minister, Cameron Dick, said that the board would help create pipeline of defence-related work in the region.

“The role of the board is important for building North Queensland’s industry capacity because it will draw advice from industry leaders from the region, including those who have a firm understanding of the industry, its supply chain, and the Australian Defence Force’s capabilities and priorities,” Dick said.

“The board will provide advice and oversight of the establishment and implementation of the Townsville defence hub to identify practical solutions for accelerating the growth of the defence industry and overcoming any challenges along the way.”

The board was established in September alongside another advisory board for the state’s south and an overarching Minister’s Advisory Council on Defence Industry and Jobs.

The three groups will provide expert advice and insight to advance key strategies of the government’s Queensland Defence Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, which aims to grow and promote industry capability, increase the state’s contribution to national and international supply chains and markets, and create high-skilled jobs.

Ranee Crosby, the chair of the North Queensland Advisory Board, said that North Queensland possessed features that gave it a competitive edge in building defence industry capacity.

“North Queensland has several strategic advantages such as its world-class sea and air ports, proximity to growing global markets such as the Asia-Pacific, and well-established defence assets and facilities such as the Lavarack Barracks, RAAF Base Scherger, HMAS Cairns, and training areas including Rockhampton’s Shoalwater Bay,” Crosby said.

“The region has a strong base of skill and growing interest in the defence industry which provides opportunity to access some of the federal government’s almost $200 billion defence investment spend over the next 10 years, with some priorities capable of being serviced and sustained by businesses in North Queensland.”