Going global: Victorian companies perform on a world stage

When it comes to Australia’s defence industry, Victoria has a long and proud history of providing innovative solutions for the Australian Defence Force. Speak to many Victorian SME defence companies today and they will tell you that the best blueprint for international success is consistently delivering high quality products and services, nurturing highly skilled people and a willingness to expand beyond national borders. According to Ric Smith, Chair of the Defence Council Victoria “Victorian SMEs, with their record of innovation and their global reach, are ideally placed in the changing world of defence industry”.

22nd Jul 2011


Going global: Victorian companies perform on a world stage


When it comes to Australia’s defence industry, Victoria has a long and proud history of providing innovative solutions for the Australian Defence Force. Speak to many Victorian SME defence companies today and they will tell you that the best blueprint for international success is consistently delivering high quality products and services, nurturing highly skilled people and a willingness to expand beyond national borders. According to Ric Smith, Chair of the Defence Council Victoria “Victorian SMEs, with their record of innovation and their global reach, are ideally placed in the changing world of defence industry”.


The defence industry landscape has changed significantly over the past decade. The shift from local to national to global supply chains has really opened up the competitive arena, providing both opportunities and challenges for any business eager to grow.
Victorian companies have secured half of the contracts won in Australia for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, and the State’s aerospace component manufacturers have secured 60 per cent of the work won for JSF metal components.


Two years ago Ric Smith and the Defence Council Victoria recognised the trend and, together with the Victorian Government, appointed a dedicated staff member in the Victorian Government’s UK office in London, Phil Doyle. Karen Loughran soon took up a similar position in the Washington D.C., USA office.
“Like the companies we’re working with, it’s a progressive model and one we believe gives Victorian defence companies a strategic and tactical edge” asserts Smith. Victorian defence companies looking to expand into international markets have access to experts at the regional frontline; people who know the market, understand the challenges and are constantly engaging with UK, European and US based defence companies and Primes.
Similarly, international companies seeking to join Victoria’s 300+ strong defence industry or source specific defence capability can leverage the Victorian Government’s support to connect with home grown businesses or for assistance with setting up new operations.


Connecting local defence industry with international Primes and other potential partners has long been a focus of the Victorian Government. Government supported international trade missions to key markets helps facilitate relationships in target sectors including defence.
Participating in the trade fair circuit also plays an important role both in Australia and abroad. Victoria has proudly hosted the largest airshow in the Asia Pacific region, the Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport, for over 10 years and recently secured Avalon for the Airshow through to 2025. The 2011 Australian International Airshow attracted over 195,000 visitors, up 25,000 on the previous Airshow, with 575 companies participating in the exhibition from 23 countries. This year, the Victorian Government and industry partner AIDN-Vic hosted 24 companies at a group exhibition stand at the Airshow.
Victoria also takes an active role in supporting Victorian companies participating in Team Australia missions to international events, such as the Farnborough, Paris and Singapore Airshows, DSEi, IDEX and AUSA.


On the home front, the Victorian Government’s Defence Industry Unit in Melbourne has boosted its own reach by improving its connections with the Metropolitan Business Offices in Dandenong, Bundoora and Sunshine.
Today, Victoria’s $2 billion defence industry is diverse and vibrant and one that the Victorian Government is committed to boosting. “Much of this”, says Smith, “is a tribute to Victorian SMEs’ capacity for innovation and agility.”
Ric Smith is Chair of the Defence Council Victoria. The Council works closely with the Victorian Government to support and grow the defence industry and realise new opportunities for existing and prospective SMEs and Primes.


For more information contact a member of Victoria’s Defence Industry Unit or go to www.business.vic.gov.au/defence


 

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