Visiting Victorian defence manufacturer, DefendTex, Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, highlighted how defence is investing in small businesses to build up local capabilities.
“Small business is the backbone of the Australian economy and the Defence Innovation Hub is just one avenue for these businesses to succeed in our defence industry,” said Price.
Price was at the Melbourne headquarters of DefendTex to announce a $2 million investment by the government into DefendTex’s rocket propelled grenade technology. The funding is delivered through the Defence Innovation Hub.
In a speech the next day at the Defence + Industry Gala Awards at the National Convention Centre, in Canberra, Price acknowledged that a shift is occurring in the way that defence sources materials and services from industry.
“Big-name companies have always had an important place in our defence industrial base, and they always will. But we had to make it easier for innovators and small companies to succeed in the industry, too. Because if we want a stronger defence industrial base to ensure our nation’s defence capability, we need to maximise the involvement and success of Australian small businesses,” said Price.
According to Price there are now more than 3,500 small businesses in the Australian defence industry, and more in the broader manufacturing sector which supply to defence focussed businesses.
DefendTex, while headquartered in Australia, also has offices in the United Kingdom and the US. For Victorian Senator, David Van, this is an example of how local industry has a significant role to play.
“DefendTex is an excellent example of how Victorian businesses are able to contribute to the broader research and development picture of our defence industry,” said Van.
With the growth in possibilities for small businesses to support the defence sector, Van hoped that other manufacturers will follow DefendTex’s lead.
“I encourage Victorian manufacturers to look at the example set by DefendTex and work with us to support our servicemen and women through their research and development,” said Van.