Defence procurement is a challenging landscape and can be quite overwhelming to industry.
These challenges add further barriers to entry for business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs looking to break into the market.
With the global security climate as it is, Australia needs to be able to rely on its own capabilities to secure its own end-to-end supply chain.
To this end, SMEs involved in the Defence space need to be “Defence-ready”.
Training and education is needed to support industry to be prepared for present and future opportunities.
Collaboration across Defence and industry bodies is required to support this.
This is even more relevant in the north, and specifically the Northern Territory. Being a remote location that services a large Defence presence there is scope to increase capability and the NT’s ability to service Defence.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update requests more durable supply chain arrangements and strengthened sovereign industrial capabilities to enhance the ADF’s self-reliance.
To achieve this in the NT, the Darwin Innovation Hub is undertaking a project to bring the relevant stakeholders together to workshop what is required to build resilience, mitigate risk, secure end-to-end supply chain and bolster sovereign capabilities in the Northern Territory.
Defence and Defence primes have a requirement for a program that supports the development of industry but is also trusted as the reference point for Defence-ready companies.
A certification that qualifies and then promotes Defence readiness would go a long way to achieving this.
There is a willingness in the NT to support Defence due to the long-term presence that Defence has had in the north.
This does not necessarily translate to capability, though. A program that takes the learnings of industry, the requirements of Defence and Primes and packages them together into a Defence readiness program could have an immediate impact in bolstering sovereign capabilities in the north and in the NT.