The inaugural Defence NSW Network of Networks Forum was held in Sydney yesterday, bringing together local, state and national networks operating in NSW seeking collaboration opportunities.
The NSW Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair officially welcomed the guests , noting that the event is as an important step in furthering the NSW government’s efforts to enhance industry collaboration.
“The defence industry in NSW is fortunate to have strong defence network operating and helping to drive a cohesive defence industry,” Minister Blair said.
“This forum is designed, not only to enhance collaboration, but ensure that we’re all getting the ‘best bang for our buck’ from each network,” he added.
NSW defence advocate, John Harvey, reinforced Minister Blair’s comments, saying that while there are significant challenges for industry networks in NSW, leveraging the different strengths of each network should deliver a better outcome for the defence industry in NSW, and ultimately for the ADF.
“A major goal is to explore how we increase the visibility of the networks so that NSW can better contribute to a national approach to defence capability challenges,” Harvey said.
“The NSW Government, through its Defence and Industry Strategy, is committed to providing a centralised platform to support more effective leadership, advocacy and engagement with defence and collaboration with NSW defence industry,” he said.
Other issues such as changing operating environments, resourcing methods and sustainability of networks were also addressed at the forum.
The Director of Defence NSW, Peter Scott, was impressed by the strength of engagement from the senior defence industry leaders who attended. He noted that the Forum participants, who together had 600 plus years of collective defence and defence industry experience, were unanimous in their commitment to move forward together.
Some of the networks currently operating in NSW include the Australian Industry Defence Network, HunterNet Defence, the Shoalhaven Defence Interest Group, the Defence Murray Riverina Alliance and Advantage Wollongong.
Planning for the next NSW Defence Network of Networks Forum, to be held before the end of the year, is now underway.
NSW is home to over 80 Defence bases and facilities, more than any other state, and Defence invests $5.5 billion annually in its operational expenditure. Defence and the industry that supports it currently directly employ over 26,500 people in NSW. Defence investment is already one of the key drivers of employment and economic growth in many regional areas.