Updated 14 November, 10:15
Representatives of 211 organisations interested in contracting with defence companies attended the Defence Ipswich 2019 Supply Chain Opportunities Symposium last Friday, organised by Ipswich City Council and AIDN Queensland at the Ipswich Civic Centre.
Attendees heard from speakers through to lunch and then joined the helter-skelter of a ‘speed-dating’ event, in which businesses were given a short time to pitch their wares to defence primes, sub-primes, specialist SMEs and competitors, including delegates visiting from the Military Industries Corp of Saudi Arabia. The day wound up with networking.
More than 70 per cent of attendees were from SMEs, with 20 per cent from Ipswich and surrounds. About 235 business to business meetings took place on the day, which was the inaugural defence industry B2B held in this region.
The Symposium started with AIDN Queensland president Carl Quarterman and Ipswich City Council’s (ICC) defence industry lead Tamanna Monem co-chairing the day. CEO of ICC David Farmer highlighted the decades of engagement between City of Ipswich and the ADF, notably via RAAF Base Amberley, and the strength of the region with over 900 businesses in the manufacturing eco-system aspiring to be connected with defence projects.
Farmer noted the establishment in 2017 of the City of Ipswich Defence Industry Development & Attraction Committee, a defence-industry high level cluster utilising a triple helix model of collaboration to drive defence industry activities within the region.
Assistant Minister for Veteran Affairs Jennifer Howard MP congratulated Ipswich City Council on delivering its second defence summit in the region and acknowledged the work by Council as complementary to the Queensland Government’s supportive approach.
Lee Davis, Rheinmetall’s GM Land 400 Phase 3 Head of Marketing & Strategy, commented on the development of the centre, showing aerial views of the development and just how much scope was still there for the expansion necessary to construct the 445 IFVs should they be successful with their offering of the Lynx.
Other speakers included Christopher Hess, Head of Industrial Development for Lockheed Martin Australia; David Peckham, Industry Engagement Manager for Thales Global; AVM (Ret) Neil Hart, Defence and Aerospace Advocate at the Queensland Government; Group Captain Adam Spinks, OC Air Combat & Electronic Attack Systems; Nigel Everingham, Manager, Corp Affairs and Strategy for NIOA; Prof Mohan Krishnamoorthy; Chris Gray, Operations and Integration Manager for Boeing Defence Australia; Shane Fairweather, Group Business Manager CASG; Lance Irving, Defence Industry Security Advisor, Defence Industry Security Office; and Judy Denison, Manager, Defence Industry Facilitator CDIC.
"It's really unique for a City Council as local government to be putting on an event like this bringing industry together to promote, develop, and assist with looking for opportunities in Defence," Denison, who spoke at the event on behalf of the CDIC, said. "I commend Ipswich City Council on the format and I believe everyone will have gained something from the event."
“It would take me four months on the road to meet with the number of businesses I've met in this one afternoon,” an attendee said. Others benefited from the B2B session with primes.
"The presenters were all great, the passionate speakers could easily spend hours talking about the topics discussed so to have them all on point with the limited time available was excellent,” Quarterman said. “It was also great to get so many of these businesses networking together and looking for collaboration opportunities."