WA firms always want a slice of the pie, but this time the new Integrated Investment Program is putting out the meat pie, the vegetarian pie, the fish pie and the desert pie all at once. In the past, Defence have had separate investment programs for major equipment, facilities and information and communications technology. Now for the first time, these formerly separate programs are incorporated within the Integrated Investment Program. And it’s not pie in the sky!
The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, addressed a gathering, organised by the WA DEFENCE REVIEW and the American Chamber of Commerce in Perth, and co-sponsored by INPEX and Edith Cowan University. She began her talk by saying how pleased she was to “have a chance to reinforce an important message that the Government has put its back into the national enterprise that we see as underlying the Defence White Paper, and the Integrated Investment Program which was launched in 2016.”
Senator Payne was keen to stress that the Government is totally committed to providing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with the resources it needs to carry out its current and future requirements. “We want to make sure that Australia as a whole is part of that narrative, part of that story,” said Senator Payne, “and nowhere is that message stronger, in my view, than in Western Australia.”
There are many enterprising firms in the West who are taking the lead in Canberra to ensure their parliamentary representatives and ministers understand the part they want to play in Defence, which prompted Senator Payne to describe them as “forward leading lobbyists.”
As the Government progresses an acquisitions and development program that will be approximately $195 billion over the next decade, Senator Payne said there is tremendous scope for WA firms to play an important role in contributing to defence capability. Naval shipbuilding in Henderson, was one example which Senator Payne described as having a “story that has world-wide implications for Australian capability and export potential and growth.”
In her concluding remarks, Senator Payne stressed that “everything that happens in Defence comes back to the plans set out in the White Paper, and the plans that we are implementing through the Integrated Investment Program. We can’t do that without the input of business and industry within this country, from research done in academia, to implementation in factories and manufacturing plants.”
Bill Townsend, General Manager External Affairs and Joint Venture for INPEX opened the gathering and welcomed Senator Payne to Perth. He then gave a brief over-view of the Ichthys LNG project, located about 220 kms offshore in Western Australia, and managed from offices in Perth. Already more than $50 billion has been invested, making it one of the most significant oil and gas projects in the world. With the first production due to start next year, Bill said it was a transformational project with far reaching benefits including the creation of a large number of new jobs.
Brett Biddington, a senior member on the Edith Cowan University (ECU) Security Research Institute Advisory Board, proposed the vote of thanks to Senator Payne and left the audience with yet another ‘world first’ when he described the work that ECU undertakes in the field of cyber security which ranks them as one of the strongest cyber security centres in the world.
It was clear that the guest list for the evening had been skilfully chosen. The animated conversations among the well-informed participants at the end of the formal proceedings reflected the high calibre of this event. Guests were delighted to have Senator Payne circulate and engage with each of the small discussion groups which gave an unexpected added value to the whole occasion.
“As a Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and as the Chairman of AmCham in WA, I was honoured to host Defence Minister Marise Payne at our INPEX offices in Perth. The event was held in partnership with WA DEFENCE REVIEW to promote Western Australian capacity in Defence, and to highlight the exceptionally strong ties that exist between the USA and Australia in this sector. As INPEX is Japan’s largest investor in Australia through the Ichthys LNG Project, it was interesting to hear the Minister’s comments around the similarities in technology and innovation shared by both the defence and oil and gas industries”.
Bill Townsend, General Manager of External Affairs and Joint Venture, INPEX