Doorstop - Defence Export Strategy

29 Jan 2018
Thales Australia, Rydalmere
Prime Minister, Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for Defence
Defence Export Strategy; US Defence Strategy
Defence and National Security


Good morning. It’s a great to be here at Thales Australia with Chris Jenkins, the CEO, the Minister for Defence, Marise Payne and the Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne.

What we are talking about this morning is Australian jobs and Australian innovation and Australian technology. Ensuring that the brilliance of the men and women in this building and many others like it around Australia, results in more exports of our defence industry products, of our defence industry technology and delivers more jobs, more 21st century advanced manufacturing, advanced technology jobs, here in Australia.

The Australian defence industry is responding to our massive reinvestment in our defence capabilities. $200 billion across all three services, in every respect.

What this is doing is, for the first time, establishing a solid, continuing Australian defence industry in Australia. Not since wartime have we seen such a level of investment in our defence forces and in particular, in our Navy.

Now, what we want to do is make sure that we export more defence technology and more of the product of our defence industry.

Thales Australia has shown us so many examples of technologies that they have produced here that are being exported. But we have got the capacity to do so much more and we need to make sure we have a strategy that delivers it.

So we’re launching today our Defence Export Strategy. We are establishing a Defence Export Office and we will have a Defence Export Advocate. What that is all about is ensuring that we maximise the opportunities for Australian jobs, Australian technology, Australian innovation.

Just standing behind us here is the Bushmaster vehicle. This is a life-saving vehicle developed in Australia. Australian technology, sold around the world. I was with Shinzo Abe in Tokyo recently and Japan has bought eight of them. There have been many other countries that have acquired them. They have saved hundreds of lives. Hundreds of lives have been saved by this vehicle.

On our right we have the Hawkei, the smaller utility vehicle which uses the same technology. Again, that’s being built for the Australian Army but, of course, it too has enormous export potential. But it is a very wide range of technologies and I'll ask Christopher and Marise to say more about it.

But it all comes down to this: Australian jobs, 21st century jobs, high-tech, cutting-edge jobs that will ensure we continue to deliver on that jobs growth that we saw last year. The highest since records began, 403,000 jobs last year.

Over 1,000 a day.

We promised jobs and growth in the 2016 election and that’s exactly what we are delivering and our Defence Industry Plan, our Defence Export Strategy is all part of that. Australian jobs, Australian innovation, Australian technology, opening more opportunities up around the world.

Thank you so much for joining us here today and I will ask Christopher and Marise to add to my remarks.


Thank you very much, Prime Minister, to you and to Marise Payne, the Defence Minister.

Today is an unprecedented day in Australian defence industry and really Australian defence history.

No government before the Turnbull Government has decided to invest in a Defence Export Strategy in the way that this Government has done so.

We have invested $200 billion over the next 10 years and building up our military capability.

It is a logical extension to that investment, the largest in our peacetime history, to see how beyond our domestic requirements, we can supply our friends and our allies with military platforms and equipment that will also transform their military capabilities and create the jobs and the growth here in Australia.

One of the features of course, of defence industry is peaks and troughs, depending on the Australian Government's demand for equipment and platforms. By investing in defence exports, we are giving defence industry the opportunity to see through those peaks and troughs and establish very long-term investments in their equipment, in their skills, in their workforce, in their management, in their research and development.

So, you can see the plan is all starting to work together and the Defence Export Strategy is the latest.

We expect that in the next nine years, because of the investments of this Government, we’ll move to being in the top ten defence exporters in the world and so we should be.

It’s the first time we are bringing a serious attachment to team defence Australia. So there will be more support for defence attachés, a grants program for small and medium enterprises to build their capabilities and more investment in the global supply chain project, bringing together in the new Defence Exports Office, all of those arms of defence that were already dealing with exports, but in a piecemeal way except the exports permits part of the department.

We’re working with Centre for Defence Industry Capability to build this part of the economy and a memorandum of understanding with Austrade, because Austrade already has many of these skills.

We’ll appoint new in-country defence exports in target markets and we’ll give training to the defence attachés in expanding our defence exports. Put more money and effort into trade shows and long-term plans and strategies. 

So it’s a very exciting day for defence industry in Australia. I am sure it will be welcomed by them and it gives us the chance to be a serious global player in the defence exports market.


Thank you, Marise?


Thank you very much, Prime Minister. To the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Chris Jenkins the CEO of Thales.

It is fabulous to be here in Western Sydney in Rydalmere with such a high-tech innovative business like Thales, which is a great demonstration of exactly what we want to see under the Defence Export Strategy as it develops over the coming years.

When we announced the Defence White Paper, launched the Defence White Paper and the Defence Industry Policy Statement, the Prime Minister and I in February of 2016, almost two years ago now, the vision that we had for defence industry in this country was laid out in that policy statement.

This Defence Export Strategy for which I congratulate both Christopher and the Department of Defence in terms of the effort that has gone into producing it, is a fabulous next step in that process and sets out a very, very valuable pathway for our engagement into the future in defence export terms.

As a proud Senator for Western Sydney, I know that there are many, many multiples of businesses across this community, across this powerful economy here, who will look at this Defence Export Strategy and recognise the Government's commitment to the work that they do.

For my part, what we also emphasised in the Defence White Paper and in the Industry Policy Statement was that defence industry is essentially now from the Australian Government's perspective, a fundamental input to capability. I can't deliver the capability that the men and women of the ADF deserve, that the men and women of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and the defence organisation need to do their job in protecting Australia, without the strongest possible defence industry delivering on that capability.

So in working with industry right across the nation, Christopher and I and the Prime Minister are absolutely sure that what the Defence Export Strategy sets out, is an opportunity for a defence industry that is a sovereign defence industry in this country. That is resilient, that has the opportunity to grow and has the capacity and the skills to deliver what we need under this $200 billion investment program.

It is a great day for Defence in the development of the Defence Export Strategy.

It is a great day for defence industry and thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today, Prime Minister.


Thank you. Did you want to add something to these remarks as our host?




Our host, the CEO of Thales Australia.


Thanks very much and welcome Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Industries, it’s tremendous to have you here. More importantly, it’s tremendous to have this export policy launched here, to have this strategy and this focus on Australian industry or capability and its ability to demonstrate that it is world-leading technologies we generate here in Australia.

It’s not second-rate stuff, Australia has got some of the smartest, most capable and skilled workforces in the world. Our engineers, our scientists, our production staff are definitely world-leading and this kind of strategy being launched generates real confidence in Australian industry, so that companies can invest for the long term. Start to invest in the future products that are not only great for Australian defence forces, but also for our coalition partners and partnership nations around the world.

We have demonstrated that with some of the products we have shown here today. There are many other industrial capabilities in Australia that put Australia at the forefront of defence technology in the world. I think it is great to have the export strategy launched here today and to be able to show the industry Australia is open for business.

The unprecedented support from this Government is truly, truly welcome.

So thank you very Prime Minister.


Thanks Chris, thank you. So we have some questions?


Prime Minister, what safeguards will the Government put in place to ensure that these additional sales are not routed to a party, a third party who may not have Australia's industries at heart?


I’ll ask Marise to add to this, but the export controls and limitations that we have now, will of course continue into the future. Marise, do you want to add to that?


Sure. Thank you very much Mike, thanks for the question. We have a comprehensive defence export control system, which works within the Department of Defence and will - as this export strategy is developed be completely separate from the Defence Export Office to ensure we have a separation between those. We work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and with defence industry to makes sure that in all of our export processes and all of our work under the Defence Export Controls Act that we are observing our international obligations to ensure that the outcomes that you have alluded to do not arise. We will continue to be very stringent about that and continue to have that as a significant focus of the work that the Defence Export Controls office does.


But what safeguards can you put in place to make sure that Australian products don't fall into the hands of countries or groups that might use Australian products against civilians or the wrong kind of people? 


There are two key pieces of legislation which already exist including the Defence Export Controls Act. Those safeguards are in place. As we develop, as the Export Strategy grows, we will be working very closely with the Defence Export Controls office to make sure that as we are asked about various items, - and everyone is examined one by one as they come through the process - to make sure those items comply with our international obligations and those sorts of issues are observed.


Minister, have any charges been laid against the Commonwealth [inaudible]?


I think we might keep talking about the Defence Strategy for a while.


Christopher is going to add to the point about defence exports and controls.


Obviously everything that Marise has said is entirely an answer to this question. But in addition to that, our target markets for defence exports are countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, New Zealand in the first instance. They are our most prospective destinations, followed by Europe and then beyond that places like Asia and the Middle East.

Obviously, no equipment or platforms will be sold to any country unless the most stringent requirements are put in place through the permits process. But we want to support the United States, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, our European friends and allies, Japan, South Korea, etc in what is a building up of the global military capability of countries like ourselves, who support the rules-based international order. The Defence Export Strategy is not designed to get into markets where we don't want to be. It’s designed to maximise the markets where we perhaps haven't been making the most of our opportunities.


Great, thank you.


Prime Minister, is this [inaudible] of our defence policy and especially so in reaction to the moves of China in the South China Sea in a military sense, but also in an economic sense with their grants to countries via the One Road One Belt policy?


This is all about Australian jobs as I said at the outset. We have a very substantial investment in defence capability, $200 billion over the next decade. That is going to result in, that is resulting in, the creation of thousands of jobs. Advanced manufacturing, 21st, cutting-edge technology jobs in Australia. We want to support those jobs with more opportunities, export opportunities.

Australia is around 20th as an exporter of defence industry. Given the size of our defence budget we should be a lot higher up the scale than that, so the goal is to get into the top ten. That’s the ambition. We are underdone in terms of our defence industry, historically and particularly with exports.

Now all of that is changing. As Marise has described with our Defence White Paper, our Defence Industry plan, our Defence Export Strategy, this is a big, game-changing step to ensure that we have the long-term commitment of government - as Chris acknowledged a moment ago - to Australia's defence industry and the thousands of jobs which it is creating.




Sorry, you’ll have to start again, you were spoken over there.


Do you agree with Marise Payne that Jim Mattis’ statement on the rise of China and Russia is a bigger threat for terrorism?


Marise is here and that’s not what she said. We have a clear and present danger, threat, from terrorism both abroad and at home. As you know, we are combating that abroad. Marise and I just welcomed home the return of the Air Task Group from the Middle East after an extraordinary three years of work there, assisting the Iraqi government in the destruction of the so-called caliphate of ISIL or Daesh.

We will continue with our training presence, our mentoring presence in Iraq, as you know. We also have a presence in Afghanistan, supporting the Coalition, the ISAF campaign there to defeat the Taliban and preserve the rule of law in Afghanistan. A very tough operating environment, but we’re helping train the Afghan police and of course the Afghan armed forces as well.

Of course, in our region, as you know, I was in Manila the other day and the chief of the Philippines Armed Forces said that our support, the support of our Air Force in particular on surveillance and intelligence, was a game-changer in the Philippines armed forces successful efforts to destroy the ISIL presence in Marawi in the southern Philippines.

So right across the region, whether it is the Middle East or in our region, we are working with our friends and allies to defeat terrorism. Of course here at home, we have established the Department of Home Affairs to bring together all of our domestic security and intelligence services to keep Australians safe.

So, at every level, whether it’s internationally, whether it’s at home, whether it’s around the world, we are doing everything that we can to keep Australians safe from terrorism.

Now, obviously, we are living in a region where there is a continued investment in military capability by all of the countries in the region. We don't - apart from North Korea - there is no country in the region that shows any hostile intent towards Australia. So we don't see threats from our neighbours in the region. But nonetheless, every country must always plan ahead and you need to build the capabilities to defend yourself, not just today, but in 10 years or 20 years hence.

As the RSL always reminds us, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and you need to have the capabilities put in place today. You may not feel that they will be firing a shot in anger today or in the foreseeable future, but things can change.

So that is why every nation, responsible nation, including our own, sets out to have the capabilities to defend itself, whatever and however circumstances may develop in the future.

Thanks very much.