The Fisher Defence Industry

I want to see a Sunshine Coast that is no longer dependent on tourism, building and construction. If we want to be able to ride out future economic storms, I believe that we need to get more industries operating in our community. We need to diversify; which is why I have created the Fisher Defence Industry Initiative.

The Federal Government is spending $200 billion on defence industry capability over the next 10 years. I want to see some of that $200 billion spent on the Sunshine Coast.

Defence industry is highly paid, highly skilled work and the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place for it. We have RAAF Base Amberley not far away from us in Fisher. We have an underutilised aerodrome in Caloundra and vacant industrial property. Most importantly, we have the human resources. A great many retired Defence personnel choose the Sunshine Coast for their home while our USC innovation hub is drawing more and more technological innovators to our community.

The Fisher Defence Industry Initiative has three streams described in full below:

  1. A series of events;
  2. Information and networking opportunities; and
  3. A mentoring program.

For more information or to sign up to receive further updates on the Fisher Defence Industry Initiative, please contact my office on andrew.wallace.mp@aph.gov.au or 07 5493 5556.

Events

In May 2017 I hosted the inaugural Sunshine Coast Defence Industry Forum. I invited the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability as well as a number of prime defence contractors and small businesses who have won defence contracts to present to more than 150 Sunshine Coast business owners. Attendees learnt about how businesses on the Coast can increase their chances of winning part of the Government’s unprecedented defence procurement spend, and had the opportunity to ask the Minister questions.

I followed up the Forum with a Breakfast in June where Air Chief Marshall Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret) spoke to 50 local businesses about Australia’s future defence procurement needs. He spoke about his experience of Defence force procurement and explored some next steps for Sunshine Coast companies.

More recently I took the initiative forward with a Fisher Defence Industry Workshop in October at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). This was a workshop style session where local businesses were placed in a small group with a mentor who guided them individually through the process of Defence Industry engagement.

I will be organising further events in the future. Please sign up by emailing andrew.wallace.mp@aph.gov.au to receive notifications of upcoming Defence Industry events in Fisher.

Networking, Information & Tendering Opportunities

Success for the Sunshine Coast in building a Defence Industry hub will depend on our ability to build relationships and work together. In addition to events, the Initiative offers further networking opportunities for individuals and businesses who are interested in pursuing work in the Defence Industry. In particular, my office is able to make introductions to relevant businesses in our region, as well as to liaisons at the major prime defence contractors and appropriate government contacts.

In addition, we can support you with information about how to contact the right individuals within the Centre for Defence Industry Capability or other Government bodies. We can provide basic details of how to discover which Defence Industry contracts are currently up for tender and some of the questions which your business may have to consider before commencing its first tender.

You can contact my office on andrew.wallace.mp@aph.gov.au or 07 5493 5556 for this kind of information. 

Mentoring

My Fisher Defence Industry Initiative also offers mentoring to business owners who are looking to win contracts with Defence.

There are a number of businesses in Fisher who are already taking advantage of Defence opportunities. These include:

  • Helimods: HeliMods, based at Caloundra Aerodrome has a contract for $154,000 to deliver wet decks for 14 Navy helicopters, and is in active discussions over further work.
  • Praesidium Global: This Caloundra business has won a $1.3 million contract to design and manufacture a new type of unmanned ground vehicle for the Australian Army, which will reduce soldiers’ exposure to danger.
  • Eniquest: Eniquest manufactures generators for the Army’s Bushmaster vehicles, and exports other portable generators to the armed forces of Singapore.
  • The University of the Sunshine Coast: USC is working closely with defence research into improving aircraft runway operation for military use.

All four of these businesses have agreed to be mentors in the Defence Industry Initiative. I have paired them with other aspiring local companies who are in similar sectors. Mentors and these local businesses are now working together to develop a path forward to winning more contracts in the sector on the Sunshine Coast.

Our mentor businesses show us what is possible here in Fisher, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. I will continue to work hard to help people and businesses on the Sunshine Coast to take advantage of these opportunities and to build a true Defence Industry hub in Fisher.

To be part of this initiative, or simply to be kept up to date with our future activities in this area please contact my office on andrew.wallace.mp@aph.gov.au or 07 5493 5556.

Authorised by Andrew Wallace MP, Liberal National Party, 11/10 Lake Kawana Blvd, Bokarina, QLD, 4575