Austal has welcomed the Government’s announcement to support greater Australian defence exports through the implementation of a plan that aims to make Australia a top ten arms exporter within the next decade.
The Defence Export Strategy, which was announced on Monday, envisions the establishment of a Defence Export Office as well as a $3.8 billion loan scheme to be administered by EFIC, Australia’s export credit agency.
Commenting on the Government’s announcement, Austal CEO, David Singleton said:
“As an export focused company, Austal is of course delighted with today’s announcement,” Mr Singleton remarked.
“The Australian Government and Austal have a long history of working together on export deals and EFIC has assisted us on a number of our international sales.”
“With this latest announcement, the Government has shown it recognises the Australian defence industry cannot rely on domestic orders alone; to grow we must be competitive in the international market.”
He said the Government’s new export strategy will give Australia’s defence industry an ability to compete on the world stage.
“There is no reason our defence sector cannot be one of these world leading industries, but the key lies in both continued policy support and a focus on Australian control of locally developed technology,” Mr Singleton continued.
“Some examples of this approach leading to exports include SAAB Australia with the 9LV combat system, CEA with their Phase Array Radar and Austal with the Littoral Combat Ship and the Expeditionary Fast Transport Vessels.”
“These products were developed in Australia with the know-how and investment being made in our Australian workforces and that is where the export strategy needs to focus for future success.”
According to Mr Singleton, a successful export strategy would also require a ‘Silicon Valley’ approach, where companies strive for new ways of developing and making products to maintain a competitive edge.
“In Austal’s case, exports have been critical to our success but we recognise we would not be where we are today without a relentless commitment to continued investment in research and development to support the technology of our vessels.” he concluded.