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September 13, 2021

The Morrison-Joyce Government has admitted their $2 billion Defence innovation program is failing in supporting Australian Defence Industry.

It has been revealed that innovation and research funding, and government support for Defence industry is set to be overhauled, as Australia risks falling behind in the rest of the world’s arms race.

Industry has been complaining that Morrison Government’s Next Generation Technology Fund and Defence Innovation Hub - both established in 2016 - are burdensome and not fit for purpose.

Too much Defence research and innovation is being done in silos, rather than to benefit all domains.

The need for this review is an admission of failure by the Government that it is not supporting Defence industry research and innovation enough, and yet they’ve asked the Australian head of one of the biggest overseas prime contractors, Naval Group, to lead the review.

This appointment is a missed opportunity to involve local manufacturers and their representative bodies and elevate the role of our local Defence Industry.

This appointment also raises questions, given the huge delays, cost blow outs and breakdown in relationship between Defence and Naval Group over the $90 billion Future Submarine program, and concerns about a lack of Australian industry capability on the project.

Released more than 14 months ago, the 2020 Defence Strategic Update fundamentally changed the perception of our strategic Defence circumstances, it’s high time the Morrison-Joyce Government reacted to this urgent review to ensure our Defence force, Defence industry and supporting research are fit for purpose.

That is why Labor has committed to a Defence Force Posture review and best practice contracting to support Australian industry capability development on major Defence projects.