As a not-for-profit industry association, the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) is committed to designing and tailoring services to meet the needs of our members, whilst ensuring services remain affordable to the membership. We have adopted a collaborative and constructive approach to engaging Defence and Government for the advocacy of defence industry policies, specifically focusing on Industry Capability (AIC) policy and skilling for defence industry.
Our approach towards providing feedback on AIC Policy has been to work collaboratively across our membership to understand the root causes to the problems experienced by the sector. We then use the facts identified to recommend policy changes to develop industry programs that will directly assist Australian industry.
In order to achieve this, we collaborated with the AiGroup Defence Council canvass direct feedback from industry, directly interviewed members and chaired a forum of AIC Managers to identify areas for improvement. The AiGroup Defence Council collaboration in particular, allows us to emphasise the national importance of AIC Policy implementation. The key messages taken from each of these activities have been regularly fed back to Defence and Government which is why we are pleased to see Minister Price’s five priorities announced on 6th February 2020:
- Enhance CASG performance delivery to be a ‘strong client’.
- Expand small business access to Defence.
- Increase the number of exporting Australian businesses.
- Build Australia’s skilled defence industry workforce.
- Ensuring Defence’s grants, innovation, science and technology programs are contributing to enhancing ADF capability.
Our communication to Defence and Government is focused around the following key messages:
- Minimum percentage values for Australian industry involvement must be stipulated in contracts for major programs.
- Defence needs to stop using risk as an excuse to not use Australian industry. Australian industry have the capability, they need to be given the opportunity to use it.
- The term “sovereign industrial capability” must be clearly defined.
We welcome the Minister’s review of the CDIC and will be submitting a formal submission to the review’s co-chairs. We have already identified a number of opportunities on how services can be improved, including the recruitment of additional appropriately qualified and experienced Business Advisers to improve the timeliness of the delivery of services; and the implementation of a Defence Business Maturity Framework to provide industry with a roadmap on how to progressively grow and develop their capability to meet the needs of Defence.
We want to see greater support provided to industry to employ and train apprentices and develop engineers. Under the current model, industry can’t afford to employ apprentices until the work and contracts materialise, hence, major programs must invest into apprenticeships and education before the work is awarded to industry. This ensures by the time the work is awarded, the skilled workforce is available, and industry have a foundation upon which a continual training pipeline can be established.
The continuous shipbuilding program is a massive industrial change program for Australia. The program’s intent is to build an advanced manufacturing sector that is globally competitive with organisations who have been engaged in the shipbuilding sector, in some cases, for hundreds of years. We need to fast track the development of industry to meet defence standards. In some cases, this may require a greater appetite for risk, giving Australian industry a fair-go and therefore the opportunity to demonstrate their true capability. Moreover, we expect to see the same principles being applied to procurements in other domains, including sustainment opportunities.