On November 24, 2006, The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson, Australia’s Minister for Defence, delivered a speech to the Australian-British Chamber of Commerce. His subject was “Future Directions in Industry Policy,” which touched on past reviews of defense force structure, the current Defence Capability Plan 2006-2016, procurement reviews and reforms, and the effects of an aging population before getting to its key passage:
“Around 20,000 Australians are employed directly in defence industry. About A$ 2.1 billion [DID: about $1.6 billion] of that money that we spend on defence industry – the A$ 8.7 billion [DID: about $6.8 billion] that comes from the DMO(Australia’s Defence Materiel Organization) – about A$ 2.1 billion finds it way, one way or another, into the 300 or so SMEs that are in defence industry in Australia. At the moment – of the 20,000 that are employed – we’ve got about 5,200 that are in regional parts of Australia.
In going forward, back in May, I called together a representative group of policy analysts – CEOs from the primes and also representatives of Australia’s SMEs in defence industry – to canvass the issues that might surround the development of defence industry policy…”
DID readers will recall that Britain has its own defense industrial policy. The Minister’s efforts in Australia will have 7 areas of focus: