Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price have released a joint statement outlining economic support measures for defence industry as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The release comes a day after publication of this opinion piece by ADM Managing Editor Katherine Ziesing outlining the difference in departmental communication to industry between Australia and NZ. The NZDF provided a three-page statement for industry partners that is easy to read and provides clear direction on what to do and who to contact, whereas Defence provided information about what it is doing as part of Australia's Whole of Government response.
"The [Commonwealth] is providing certainty and funding to help Australian companies through the COVID-19 pandemic, with fast-tracked payments to defence industry a key feature of initial assistance to help mitigate the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic," Minister Reynolds said. "This will mean some suppliers will receive payment up to two weeks earlier than usual."
"Australian small businesses are the backbone of our defence industry and we will continue to do everything we can to relieve the current pressures they’re under,” Minister Price said. “Minister Reynolds and I are speaking today with major defence companies and industry groups to hear how we can further assist and provide support to Aussie workers and small businesses in our defence industry."
Additional measures in place include: accelerating payments to Australian suppliers by making payment as soon as possible after their invoice has been approved for payment by Defence, irrespective of the contracted payment terms; reinforcing to strategic prime contractors the important role their Australian sub-contractors play in ensuring prompt payment across the supply chain; and providing appropriate relief to contractors in circumstances of demonstrated adverse effects as a result of the COVID-19 crisis on the supply of labour, equipment, materials or services required to meet current contractual obligations.
"Defence assistance also extends to the sizeable Defence estate with a continued focused on delivering capital facilities and infrastructure works across Australia," the statement reads.
"Defence has proactively amended and implemented all current and future contractual clauses to provide time and cost relief for COVID-19 impacts under its construction contracts.
"This Government is committed to finding ways to bring forward Defence activities or additional works, to provide economic stimulus to the country, and support Australian industry during this difficult time."
About 35,000 Australians are employed in the defence industry.
The statement says that more information on these economic measures is available from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability on 13 28 46 or www.business.gov.au/cdic or firstname.lastname@example.org.