House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry

Photo of Celia HammondCelia Hammond (Curtin, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister please outline to the House how the Morrison government's plan for a stronger defence industry is creating jobs and opening new opportunities for Australian businesses as we recover from the COVID-19 recession?

3:03 pm

Photo of Melissa PriceMelissa Price (Durack, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Curtin for her question and thank her for her support for Australia's defence industry, particularly in our home state of Western Australia. Earlier today it was my great pleasure to visit leading-edge Australian advanced radar and communications company CEA Technologies here in Canberra, just down the road in Fyshwick. CEA are a crown jewel in our defence industry. They are supplying critical sovereign industrial capability to our ADF and they are employing hundreds of Australians in Canberra and right across the country, and I had the great pleasure of meeting a number of them this morning.

It was there this morning that I announced a new support guide to bolster the security of Australian businesses so that we can get many more Australian businesses defence-ready. This is important so that we can have more Australian companies enjoying the great investment of $270 billion in our defence capability over the next decade. This is yet another enabler for our Australian SMEs in our defence industry. And we must work even harder to make sure that we understand what the barriers are and what the enablers are to getting more SMEs in our defence industry.

Alarmingly, about 40 per cent of businesses that apply to win defence work have insufficient cybersecurity measures to meet defence standards. As I said, I think this is rather alarming, so it was a great honour today to launch Working securely with defence, a constructive and very comprehensive guide that defence has completed in partnership with the Australian Industry Group. In essence, this is a very important guide for SMEs which was created by industry for industry. By getting more Australian businesses defence-ready we will get more of them involved in defence industry and we will create more Australian jobs. As a matter of priority, I will be engaging with businesses of all sizes this year to understand what we must do further to bolster the security of our defence industry.

The defence industry has been a terrific success story, particularly over COVID. It has overcome many challenges relating to equipment supply and resources, but we must do everything we can to ensure it's much stronger as we come out the other side of COVID. The Morrison government is committed to removing barriers and creating more enablers so that we can get more Australian SMEs into our defence industry and create more Australian jobs.