As a former member of the Australian Defence Force, I’ve experienced first-hand the trust our armed forces personnel put in government to provide them with the best capability so that they can do their job with confidence.
As an Australian company, we have runs on the board, contributing over $1 billion to the Australian economy every year, together with a supply chain of over 1,600 Australian businesses with which we spend over $360 million per year; and importantly with our 3,500 local staff, including more than 1,000 who are working on maritime design and maintenance programs right now.
Throughout our 65 years in Australia, we have not only helped protect Australia’s armed forces, we have helped establish Australia’s sovereign defence industry. On the ground, we’ve managed some of the nation’s largest and most complex Defence programs, creating the knowledge and understanding essential to getting the job done.
We relish the value of putting Australian companies onto the world stage and over the years we’ve been behind many of Australia’s most important defence exports - today delivering more than $50 million worth of exports each year to allied nations around the world.
I believe that these are the actions and outcomes that contribute to making BAE Systems a responsible Australian company.
But that’s today. Tomorrow our aim is to deliver on a unique vision for SEA 5000 if we are successful in our bid to be the Commonwealth’s long-term partner on this extraordinary program. A shared vision with the Commonwealth Government, to create a stronger, more sustainable and sovereign naval shipbuilding industry, and in doing so deliver a formidable advantage to the Royal Australian Navy.
Central to our vision is the creation of a highly skilled, highly regarded workforce here in Australia. One that will deliver thousands of new jobs over multiple decades. An industry that will employ over 1,000 graduates and apprentices delivered through the most strategic early careers program Australian shipbuilding has ever seen. An industry that will provide increased opportunities for Indigenous businesses and Indigenous Australians. An industry that will see Australian ships built by Australians, using Australian steel.
But our plan for Australian suppliers doesn’t stop with Australia. By being a part of one of the world’s largest defence companies, we will work to ensure that Australian companies will have the opportunity to compete for work across our $18 billion annual global supply chain spend. This is the type of scale that is needed to propel Australia’s Defence industry onto the world stage.
And we’ve already begun delivering on that commitment.
Australian companies are today supplying BAE Systems’ UK Type 26 program for the Royal Navy. This is a great example of how we are working to provide opportunities for Australian industry.
Our plan will also see Australian companies given the opportunity to work not just on the nine ships for the Royal Australian Navy, but on the eight ships for the UK Type 26 program, and potentially for the 15 ships as part of the Canadian Surface Combatant program. Through BAE Systems, Australia will gain access to a truly global program of naval shipbuilding.
Like other industries, I believe Australia should aspire to grow its defence exports, and I believe it can. Our plan is to provide the Commonwealth Government with the intellectual property and technology to allow them to create the sovereign capability in naval shipbuilding that can allow them to do just that. Creating an industry that has the potential to become a regional design, technology and shipbuilding hub, and with Australia at the centre of it.
With BAE Systems, our Navy will increase its already close ties with the UK’s Royal Navy, leveraging our alliance and the Five Eyes intelligence sharing community that is increasingly important to the protection of our nation.
Finally, and most importantly, if successful we will deliver the Royal Australian Navy the Global Combat Ship – Australia, the world’s newest and most advanced anti-submarine warship.
The world’s only bow-to-stern digitally designed naval warship. This will give our Navy personnel the world’s most formidable anti-submarine warfare capability, and the confidence they need to do their job over the next 30-40 years.
I believe Australia has the opportunity to create a sovereign naval shipbuilding industry like it has never seen before, and it is our vision that in doing so we create a legacy for generations to come.