Federal Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles has visited DECO Australia at their manufacturing facility in Minto, NSW. Marles toured DECO’s facility to observe firsthand their extensive defence capabilities, including surface finishing, protective coatings and non-combustible aluminium building products.
DECO founder and director Ross Doonan met with the Deputy Opposition Leader to discuss defence procurement policies and advocate for greater inclusion of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in defence contracts.
“Australia has a wealth of local suppliers who would be an asset to the defence industry,” said DECO Director Ross Doonan. “And yet they are underrated and often overlooked by Australian defence, and by the Prime Contractors they work with. It is difficult to become involved – often, SMEs are not even sure where to start. It is crucial that these innovative, creative businesses receive greater opportunities to be included in defence contracts and make the valuable contribution of which they are capable.”
Key discussion items included the importance of recognising Australian manufacturers in crucial defence projects, the vital need for government to assist SMEs in overcoming barriers to trading with Prime Contractors, such creating pathways to assist them in achieving accreditation with Primes, as well as reviewing the Australian Industry Capability program to increase its benefits to SMEs. Also discussed was the urgency of providing stronger protections for the Intellectual Property of Australian businesses to prevent our country’s unique inventions being plagiarised by overseas suppliers and lower-quality alternatives usurping quality Australian product offerings.
With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis this year, Australian Defence has begun to realise the importance of increasing Sovereign Industry Capability, rather than relying on overseas suppliers. Marles and Doonan discussed the need to strengthen local supply chains and for defence to support the capabilities and solutions Australian SMEs can provide.
Mr Marles’s visit to DECO allowed him to see up-close the benefits of quality Australian surface finishing for a wide range of defence applications, from weapon and machine parts to infrastructure applications such as defence barrack buildings, wayfinding signage and more.
“DECO Australia is an excellent example of quality, customer focus and innovation that highlights how local businesses can not only contribute to, but strengthen defence supply chains,” said Doonan. “Our custom finishing processes and in-house testing facilities show just how eager we are to come up with unprecedented, creative and compliant solutions to meet defence project needs. Businesses like us may be the answer a lot of defence projects are looking for – we just need greater recognition and a chance to become directly involved.”