By Matt Keogh MP

26 August 2020

Watch Matt's speech here 

The federal government is all smoke and mirrors on Australian defence industry—photo ops one day, cutting out Aussie businesses the next. Australian defence industry businesses need a fair go at winning defence contracts, but this government's idea of a fair go at local procurement is nothing more than a box-ticking exercise. This government say they have 'reviewed' procurement policy to make sure that they 'consider' Aussie businesses when looking at tenders. However, consideration does not bring with it any guarantees whatsoever.

This government's mismanagement of defence procurement is an insult to Australian defence industry. Aussie industry deserves to be able to compete in an equitable manner for work share in these programs. Our industry is often criticised as being too expensive, too inefficient and too risky, but none of these claims are a reality. Brent Clark from the Australian Industry and Defence Network told the naval shipbuilding inquiry just the other week:

There is no logical reason as to why an Australian company is any less efficient or productive or poses more risk if they are given the same specifications and access to technology transfer as the foreign companies.

This government needs to work to ensure Australian businesses that have the capability to get into the defence supply chain can do so and support the development of long-term Australian sovereign capability. We need enforceable, measurable contractual requirements put into every single procurement contract with defence primes to ensure that they work with Australian companies so they are given a fair and equitable chance of securing work and we develop sovereign defence capability—now more than ever.