International Defence and Industry Technology Dinner

The capability of South Australia’s defence industry is broad across all sectors. We have already seen the availability of a highly skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and a strong defence industry secure nearly $90 billion in naval shipbuilding programs.

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

I hope you are all enjoying the fantastic Land Forces 2018 Conference so far, and all that Adelaide and South Australia have to offer.

If you had time to read this morning’s papers, you would have seen that my Government’s first budget was introduced to the Parliament yesterday.

It is a budget which confirms how strongly South Australia is responding to the opportunities offered by the defence industry.

It invests more than $100 million in skills development.

That commitment has enabled my Government to secure a matching amount from the Commonwealth.

So that together we can deliver huge opportunities for our businesses and our workers from all walks of life.

And there’s another commitment in our budget of special significance to this major international land defence industry event.

Bid to host Land Forces 2020

Adelaide is the ideal location for this extremely important industry conference and trade platform.

We are proud to have successfully hosted Land Forces 2016 and for being able to do it again in 2018.

As part of my government’s plan to create more defence industry export opportunities for South Australian businesses, we want to make Adelaide the permanent home of this key event – just like Sydney has PACIFIC and Melbourne hosts the Avalon Airshow.

To do so, Defence SA has teamed up with the Adelaide Convention Bureau and Team Adelaide to put forward a very competitive bid to host Land Forces 2020 and, potentially beyond.

The bid is being funded through the budget introduced yesterday.

Our state is an inspiring and innovative destination.

It has connected, world-class precincts, award-winning food and wine and a pioneering defence industry.

Land Forces is an exceptional opportunity to showcase South Australia’s capabilities in land, as well as other important sectors, and to connect delegates with innovative local companies.

South Australia’s defence industry

The land sector in South Australia fully reflects our strong and capable defence industry, and our contribution is integral to the national agenda.

Our state has a skilled workforce which we are continuing to build, and supply chains with a strong track record of manufacturing and sustaining armoured fighting vehicles. 

The Army’s significant presence in South Australia includes almost 2,000 permanent personnel and key operational units. 

They are supported by national research and development activities and major test and training facilities.

Accordingly, the South Australian defence industry is well-positioned to play an important role in LAND 400.

Over half a dozen local businesses – some here tonight – are preparing to enter Rheinmetall’s global supply chain.

South Australian suspension maker, SupaShock, is also part of Rheinmetall’s supply chain as a fantastic example of a local company diversifying into the defence sector.

The capability of South Australia’s defence industry is broad across all sectors.

We have already seen the availability of a highly skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and a strong defence industry secure nearly $90 billion in naval shipbuilding programs.

Other exciting developments in space, cyber intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare can create thousands more jobs for South Australians for decades to come.

The defence industry is a vital part of South Australia’s economic prosperity, as we move towards a high tech advanced manufacturing future.

As this transition occurs, we need to do what we can to provide support for those coming out of the automotive industry so that they can help build submarines, frigates and armoured fighting vehicles as part of a much more flexible and highly-skilled workforce.

The development of the defence workforce is a key priority for South Australia, as yesterday’s State Budget confirms.

I am absolutely committed to working with the Australian Government, the industry and education institutions to deliver a defence-ready workforce with the capability to meet the needs of the Australian Defence Force.

Renewed focus on innovation

While we have long been known as the Defence State, under my government, we have even bigger ambitions to become the nation’s Innovation State.

South Australia is home to a world-class, globally-connected and growing defence industry and space ecosystem, underpinned by innovation and cutting-edge technologies.

These high-tech industries are mutually supporting and have strong synergies.

They are driven by ingenuity and creativity.

We are also working on redeveloping the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, known as Lot Fourteen, into a future innovation hub for technology start-ups and entrepreneurs.

World-first flight recorders, missile detectors and cyber security tools are just some of the game-changing technologies being developed in South Australia to enhance the Australian Defence Force of the future.

Last year, South Australian businesses and universities secured the contracts for nearly one third of work on the Australian Government’s defence industry and innovation programs, including the Defence Innovation Hub.

We are committed to building a culture of entrepreneurship and strengthening collaboration between private enterprise, university and research organisations to stay ahead of the curve in these industries.

South Australia’s three universities, Defence SA and Defence, Science and Technology are helping drive defence research and innovation through a new collaborative venture, the Defence Innovation Partnership.

The Partnership is currently calling for researchers and industry to apply for funding to support joint research projects under its Collaborative Research Grants. 


The level of activity and innovation in South Australia I have just described provides an ideal platform for the Land Forces event.

I hope to see you all here again in 2020 should we be successful in our hosting bid.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the evening and the remainder of the conference.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you in particular to visit the South Australia – The Defence State stand.

It has 31 innovative and exciting local South Australian companies and organisations ready to talk about future opportunities.

I am delighted that so many South Australian businesses are already taking up the opportunities being created.

There are great days ahead for the defence industry.

I look forward to them continuing to unfold in South Australia.

Thank you and my best wishes for the rest of this outstanding event.

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