Strategic plan launched to grow WA’s defence industry and create jobs

  • Western Australia Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan launched today at the Indo-Pacific Defence Conference
  • Plan includes six key strategies to continue to grow WA’s defence industry to diversify the economy and create jobs
  • Strategy capitalises on WA’s world-leading manufacturing and technological capabilities
  • The plan includes the establishment of a new Defence Science Centre in WA

Premier Mark McGowan has launched the Western Australia Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan during his address at the inaugural Indo-Pacific Defence Conference.

The strategy represents the first time a Western Australian Government has committed to a strategic plan dedicated to defence and the defence industry, bringing WA in line with every other State and jurisdiction in the country.

It demonstrates the McGowan Government’s commitment as a major supporter of the nation’s defence requirements.

The McGowan Government is committed to supporting the State’s defence industry as a priority area to diversify the economy and create jobs for Western Australians.

The priorities for assisting the defence sector are centred on harnessing the State’s competitive advantages and pursuing industries of the future.

The plan outlines six key strategies:

  • Supporting a strong enduring defence presence – Develop and promote the case for WA to be the principal location for maintenance and sustainment for the future submarines and frigates. These contracts are expected to exceed $50 billion through the life of the new fleets;
  • Growing the State’s defence industry capability and contribution – Facilitate business opportunities and collaboration overseas to maximise domestic and international defence opportunities;
  • Developing strategic infrastructure – Establish an across-government task force to undertake strategic planning for the expansion and management of Henderson and the Australian Marine Complex;
  • Building research and innovation partnerships – Work with the Australian Government to establish a Defence Science Centre to enhance research collaborations and engagements between universities, industry and defence;
  • Advancing education, training and skilling – Establish a Defence Office in the South Metropolitan TAFE to lead a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to the development of a WA defence workforce; and
  • Supporting veterans and families – Develop, in consultation with defence and local governments, a Veterans and Defence Families Strategy to better support veterans and their families.

The Defence Science Centre will be a collaboration between the State Government, the Defence Science and Technology Group and Western Australian universities.

The centre will maximise Western Australia’s defence-related research opportunities and will be a primary source of facilitating research and development connections to foster a globally engaged, competitive and innovative defence sector.

The strategic plan outlines the State’s vision and roadmap for how the McGowan Government will pursue opportunities to support defence and industry requirements.

It provides the basis for guiding the State’s public sector and Defence West, and identifies the key actions required to progress the Government’s vision.

The Western Australia Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan is available at

As noted by Premier Mark McGowan:

“As part of the Plan for Jobs, I made a commitment to make the defence sector a priority, to continue to diversify our economy and create jobs for Western Australians.

“The defence sector is worth billions of dollars to the economy and Western Australia has been crying out for a strategic plan to further unlock its full potential.

“Western Australia has incredibly strong manufacturing capabilities, with many local companies at the forefront of world-leading technology to service the defence sector.

“For the first time, we now have a strategy to build on these already-established strengths and champion Western Australia to secure a greater share of defence contracts for our State and create new opportunities for innovation.

“As a government, we will support the vision and work to deliver the key strategies and actions. I am determined to seize this opportunity to promote the defence sector in this State, to grow our economy and create jobs.

“Further to that, the strategy will provide nation-leading support for our Defence Force, the men and women who sacrifice so much for our nation, to assist with employment pathways and support for injured veterans.”

As noted by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia:

“Western Australia is home to Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling, as well as key Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army bases and strategic infrastructure, signifying the enduring importance of the State to national security.

“We are also home to numerous world-class universities, defence focused prime contractors and small to medium-sized enterprises, with many clustered at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson.

“Through this plan, the McGowan Government will promote our capabilities and harness the State’s competitive edge to maximise domestic and international defence business opportunities.

“The Federal Government has indicated strong support for the McGowan Government’s plan. We look forward to working with them on its implementation.

“The WA defence industry is a crucial asset to not only support the Australian Defence Force but also assist in diversifying the State’s economy and creating jobs.”

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