Page 2481 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 August 2017

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Economy—defence industry

MS CHEYNE: Chief Minister, how is the defence industry contributing to the diversification of Canberra’s economy?

Mr Hanson: You came up with a good policy, didn’t you, Andrew? It was very similar to mine.

MR BARR: Thank you!

MADAM SPEAKER: Chief Minister, you are easily amused; but to the question, thank you.

MR BARR: I am always amused by the former Leader of the Opposition. He continues to be a source of amusement. I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that defence and defence industries are indeed major contributors to our territory economy, collectively adding about $4.3 billion each year and providing over 23,000 jobs in the Australian Capital Territory.

We are, comparatively speaking, a major player in the Australian defence industry, with 11 of the top 40 defence contractors headquartered here. This includes two rather famous Canberra born and bred companies: Aspen Medical, well known to everyone here; and Australia’s largest privately owned defence company, CEA Technologies. There is also the fantastic news that Electro Optic Systems will be consolidating their business into the ACT, further contributing to the diversification of our city’s economy.

It is worth noting that our research institutions are also valuable partners in defence industry development. Many of Canberra’s academics have seized opportunities to spin off their research into commercial ventures. Examples include Seeing Machines, a successful Canberra-based company with defence-related capability. The future is bright for our local defence industry. I am advised that the next 10 years will see something in the order of $200 billion worth of capital investment in defence capabilities, including $17.5 billion in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and cybersecurity capabilities, all areas where we have particular strengths. The ACT government will seek to capitalise on these strengths by establishing—by running out of time, in this instance. (Time expired.)

MS CHEYNE: Chief Minister, how is the government building on the appointment of the Defence Industry Advisory Board?

MR BARR: As I was just saying, the Defence Industry Advisory Board will help guide our industry and successfully target these key sectors. This is significant for the economy. KPMG estimates that for every $1 billion spent on defence operations in the Canberra region, our gross state product is boosted by $1.4 billion and nearly 8,000 jobs are created. Since the establishment of the Defence Industry Advisory Board in March, its members have been working to grow the ACT’s defence industry.

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