The Defence White Paper signals a lot of change. Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) must look for new market opportunities while ensuring they’re equipped to adapt and take on growth in the Defence sector.
The redesign of the industry engagement programs will most benefit SMEs. The move from some 35 disparate Defence support programs (not including various other Federal Government and state industry support programs), to two streamlined avenues for the defence industry to interact and collaborate with Defence is a significant change.
Australian SMEs should see a key benefit of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) as providing increased assistance and opportunity to enter global markets. The GSC program will continue, and has been flagged as the preferred future delivery model to facilitate this important outcome.
Further, the DWP indicates Australian Industry Capability Plans will remain an important element of the capability picture. However, the ability to upskill, particularly with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, are a threat to Australian SMEs seeking to deliver defence projects in country and, accordingly, a focus for the CDIC.
Within this framework, SMEs must look for opportunities to expand existing products and services to cater to Defence requirements. This in turn can assist SMEs to attract key talent, with the benefit of an expanded customer portfolio to engage with skillsets and professionals suited to Defence.