Australian businesses looking to get involved in the home‐grown Defence industries should get ready.

The Commonwealth government recently released the 2016 Defence White Paper, 2016 Integrated Investment Program and the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement which pledged to spend $195 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The two key initiatives in relation to home‐grown Defence industries are the establishment of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and a new approach to Defence innovation.  These initiatives have a budget of $1.6 billion.

Centre for Defence Industry Capability

The Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) will be funded at approximately $23 million per year, being a consolidation of existing funding programs. The CDIC shall be co-lead by private industry and Defence.  The CDIC is intended to help transform the Defence and industry relationship, and to fund new industry development, critical skilling and export programs, as well as facilitate access by small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

CDIC shall include an Innovation Portal through which SMEs shall be able to present innovative ideas to Defence through the portal on www.business.gov.au and then access specialist CDIC business and innovation advisers.  Defence will convene Defence Innovation Forums through the portal to engage with SMEs.

CDIC will commence operations in the second half of 2016 with the advisory board, the business advisory services and the Innovation Portal becoming operational.

New approach to Defence innovation

The ‘new approach to Defence innovation’ has two clear elements;

  • the Defence Innovation Hub (the Hub); and
  • the next generation technologies fund (the Fund).

The Hub will be a virtual network to bring together Defence’s innovation programs. The Hub is intended to promote the collaborative activities of SMEs and Defence throughout the product life cycle from initial concept, through prototyping and testing to introduction into service.

The Fund is a pool of $730 million for the funding of research on next generation technologies.  The priority research areas are noted as;

  • quantum computing,
  • encryption,
  • autonomous systems,
  • space,
  • cyber, and
  • data analysis technologies. 

The Fund shall commence on 1 July 2016.  Defence intends to invest in CRCs and ARC Industry Linkage Programs through the Fund.

To win this work, SMEs should get involved in the Hub and the Innovation Portal with the aim to access the Fund for their projects.  Our expertise in structuring collaborative arrangements would be of assistance to support your endeavours.