Premier Denis Napthine has announced that a re-elected Coalition Government will establish a multi-faceted approach of targeted support and investment to grow the State’s defence industry and to capitalise on the opportunities of the 21st century.
In a media release issued on Friday, Mr Napthine said the Coalition Government was committed to increasing support and advocacy for Victorian defence manufacturing, with Geelong at the heart of the strategy.
“A focus of our strategy is the establishment of a new $2 million Geelong Defence Business Office which will be focused on securing defence industry contracts for the region. It will work closely with the Geelong Defence Alliance, maximising defence procurement opportunities for the region including securing Land 400 opportunities,” Dr Napthine said.
“We will also be starting a Victorian Defence SME Development Grants program with a pool of up to $5 million available. These grants will be available for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) wanting to transition to the defence supply chain and defence manufacturing by investing in or modifying their manufacturing processes and equipment, or investing in innovative research, technologies and processes.”
He said the program will help Geelong manufacturers transition out of the automotive sector and find other economic opportunities in the defence sector.
“We will also be placing Defence Managers in our international Victorian Government Business Offices (VGBOs) and Regional Development Victoria (RDV) offices at a cost of $2 million over 4 years. This will enable VGBOs to spruik defence sector opportunities in Geelong and Victoria. Additionally, RDV offices will be better equipped to assist local businesses wanting to get a foot hold in the defence sector and supply chain,” he said.
“Our support for attracting major defence primes support will also be enhanced. We want to make sure these major international companies are given every opportunity to understand the advantage of establishing operations in Victoria, whether that is in Melbourne, Geelong or other parts of regional Victoria. Finally, we will also be expanding our defence sector presence in Trade Missions – inbound and outbound. This gives local businesses better opportunities to engage with international companies who want to invest in Victoria or, alternatively, procure product from Victorian businesses.”
He said the announcement builds on the Coalition Government’s major achievements in the first term, including the defence policy – Securing the Future – Victoria’s Defence Industry Strategy; providing $2 million to the Defence Science Institute; maintaining a Defence and Aerospace Manager in Washington DC; Defence and Aerospace trade missions and our strong advocacy to the Federal Government.
“The defence industry is part of an exciting new future of our manufacturing workforce, and already employs thousands of Victorians, bringing significant economic benefit to the state. We want to build on these important benefits and jobs for Victorians,” Dr Napthine said.