Prepping SA companies to land lucrative defence contracts

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Defence South Australia held the first in a series of forums on Tuesday with a view to prepping SA companies to secure a piece of the action from the upcoming lucrative defence contracts.

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Yesterday’s forum, which was held at Technology Park, was aimed at getting firms to recognise that defence contracts increasingly require companies to be cyber-ready, or in other words, to be able to access information at high security levels safely and demonstrate a level of compliance.

Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said the forums were about giving local companies the competitive edge to secure work in the supply chain for projects like the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels project, the $35 billion Future Frigate program and the $50 billion Future Submarines project.

“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. There is a significant body of work on the near, medium and far horizons for our state’s industries. We need to ensure our companies are equipped to demonstrate their cyber ready capabilities, giving themselves an edge over their competitors to win work in the upcoming multi-billion dollar defence programs,” the Minister stated.

“With Australia seeking to become a global cyber security leader, an understanding and plan for cyber awareness and risk management is essential for all industries. Cyber attacks can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. There is a perception that it only happens to the larger companies, but history shows it can and will happen to smaller companies in the supply chain.”

The inaugural forum, which gave an overview of the current cyber threat in Australia, an overview of the current assessed resilience of defence SMEs, an industry perspective from local companies Codan and BAE, and information about the resources currently available in SA, was attended by 24 companies.

According to Mr Hamilton-Smith, more events will be scheduled for early 2017 to assist companies in developing risk management plans to mitigate the cyber threat.

“The Government is doing everything possible to maximise South Australian industry involvement in the programs. Our role is to support companies who are already in South Australia and encourage others to invest here,” the Minister continued.

“There’s every reason to be excited about these projects and plenty of opportunity to get involved in the supply chain. But the opportunities won’t just fall into the laps of firms; they’re going to have to compete for it. If we sit back and wait, we’ll miss out. I’m pushing the Commonwealth to ensure a continuous flow of defence work and have already issued a list of five key actions.”