ADM Podcasts are a blend of public interest journalism and sponsored content with a focus on the Defence community. Conversations with leaders and thinkers  from a range of backgrounds including academia, Defence, industry, and associations, ADM Podcasts aims to educate, explain and explore some of the bigger issues around Defence.

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In this episode, Grant McHerron and Katherine Ziesing, Managing Editor of ADM, meet with Senator David Fawcett, Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade and John Blackburn, Chair of the Institute of Integrated Economic Research-Australia (IIER). They discuss areas of Australia's supply chains that have critical vulnerabilities to disruption, as the current COVID pandemic is exposing globally. 

A key element raised during the discussion is the need for whole of system assessments with an open and broad assessment of the associated risks and vulnerabilities. Examples are provided in the fuel and medical environments where a focus on a single aspect has resulted in a potentially unusable solution due to a lack of supporting products.

Topics covered include the need for sovereign capability in critical areas, establishing trusted supply chains, maintaining the ability to verify compliance of delivered products and the acknowledgement nationwide that additional cost will be incurred in order to obtain that resilience. The discussion also notes that many of these changes will not be possible without Commonwealth procurement rules being modified to include a consideration of supply chain resilience in the value for money assessment.

To help address these vulnerabilities, national resilience workshops are being run by the IIER with participants from industry, unions, government and community groups in order to identify steps that should be taking towards establishing this resilience, not only in Australia but with our regional partners including NZ and Indonesia. Long term changes in government, corporate and consumer behaviour will be required to survive not only the current COVID pandemic but also impacts from future issues from other unexpected sources.

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