FORMER federal government minister and now Victorian defence industry advocate Greg Combet has visited Bendigo to talk about opportunities in the industry for local business.
Mr Combet, representing the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, met with businesses yesterday to discuss what is important to them in accessing defence contracts, and how the state government can help them procure such work.
One way the government could assist businesses in accessing defence work, he said, was through the recently launched Victorian Defence Industry Supply Chain program.
The program aims to support small and medium enterprises win domestic and international defence supply chain work with grants of up to $50,000.
The grants can be used to fund projects improving accreditation, meeting compliance requirements, and accessing tender application advice.
Mr Combet said it was important that Victorian businesses secured defence contracts because of the potential for job creation.
“The Andrews government is working hard to create jobs, and attain investment for that purpose,” he said.
Not only did defence work create jobs, Mr Combet said, but its nature meant it generated “quality” positions that were skilled and created a career path for those who filled them.
Paul Chapman, from the Bendigo-based Australian Turntable Company, was among those who met with Mr Combet yesterday.
Mr Chapman reiterated the importance of defence in job creation, explaining that defence contracts were typically sizeable and as such, a company that won such work would usually have to take on extra employees, generating flow-on benefits for the wider community.
He said his interest in the industry lay in the potential for his company to play a part in building infrastructure and facilities associated with defence projects.
Having undertaken defence work in the past, Mr Chapman said defence was an attractive industry because the high standards of work it demanded meant businesses who undertook a defence project were considered as being “very capable”.
Bendigo has a history of defence work, perhaps the most high-profile of that being the manufacture of the Bushmaster and Hawkei armoured vehicles by Thales in North Bendigo.