The Hunter’s strength as a defence hub will be in the spotlight this week when more than 160 delegates and 30 presenters gather at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley for the 2021 Hunter Defence Conference.
The sold-out symposium, one of the first major industry events post-COVID, will run across two days from 22-23 April, featuring leading speakers from government, industry and the Defence forces.
Federal Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price is scheduled to present a keynote speech on Friday, while the NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres will open the conference on Thursday.
Delegates will also receive updates from Defence Primes, CASG (Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group), senior capability development staff from Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as space and cyber agencies within defence.
“This impressive line-up of speakers and delegates is testament to the region’s position as a leader in defence industry capability,” Hunter Defence chair Tim Owen said.
“Delegates from across the region, state and nation are coming to our conference to learn about the supply chain opportunities in the pipeline over the next decade and what they need to do to equip their businesses and workforces to compete successfully for contracts in the lucrative defence sector.”
Hunter Defence industry expertise will be on display in the form of a Next Generation Deployable Facility (NGDF) designed and built locally by Varley Group for Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), with the assistance of regional suppliers such as R&R Murphy and ISG Sheetmetal and Laser.
Guests can also inspect the Deployable Facility, which is a secure mobile unit, fully-equipped with high-tech systems in support of advanced Command and Control for the Australian Defence Force.
Day one of the conference will focus on workforce capacity-building, featuring presentations from industry training and recruitment leaders, Primes and Hunter SMEs working in the defence sector.
The second provides attendees with a comprehensive outlook on Defence needs and supply-chain opportunities over the next 10 years.
“With the federal government set to spend $270 billion over the next decade and COVID-19 having brought an increased focus on sovereign capability, there has never been better opportunity for Australian businesses in the defence sector,” Mr Owen said.
RDA Hunter, which will host the Skilling and Workforce Readiness Symposium on the first day of the conference, will reveal research findings that outline the skills most in demand for Hunter businesses working in the defence sector.