Inaugural Australia-France defence industry symposium takes off

The inaugural Australia-France Defence Industry Symposium has started today in Adelaide, bringing together industry bodies and representatives, senior government figures and academics from the two countries.

Defence industry ties between Australia and France have become closer following the selected of Naval Group – the French state-owned shipbuilding company – as the designer and manufacturer of the Australian Navy’s new submarine fleet.

Defence minister Christopher Pyne said that the two-day symposium would strengthen industry partnerships and help identify further opportunities for cooperation and collaboration.

“Australia’s Future Submarine Program is the cornerstone of our defence industry relationship with France, but the Symposium demonstrates the relationship is set to grow further,” Pyne said.

Read: France wins contract to build next Australian submarines

“Defence industry lies at the crossroads of national and economic security, so strengthening the linkages between our defence industries will be a multiplier for our bilateral relationship.”

The Symposium was established following the signing of an agreement between the Australian and French governments during president Emmanuel Macron’s visit in May. It is to be held annually.

Alongside defence minister Pyne, keynote speakers include French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, Airbus Head of Asia Pacific Region, Pierre Jaffre, Global Head of Naval Group, Herve Guillou, and CEO of Thales Australia, Chris Jenkins.

Defence industry minister Steven Ciobo said that the event would encourage greater connections between the defence industries of both nations.

“The Symposium will provide a forum in which Australian and French industry leaders can come together to identify complementary capabilities and mutually beneficial opportunities,” Ciobo said.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of these new connections deliver long-term benefits to both nations’ respective industries and warfighting capabilities.”