Defence Export Controls published new figures showing a 25 per cent surge in the number of defence and dual-use export permit applications received in the last quarter of 2017–18 over the same period last year.
Whilst numbers show there has been a boost in the confidence for Australian businesses to reach for opportunities in foreign defence markets, the news comes as ASC released a statement surrounding the potential loss of up to 93 jobs at shipyards in Adelaide.
"With the recent completion of the second of three Air Warfare Destroyers and progress on the third well-advanced, it has become necessary to reduce the shipbuilding workforce to reflect operational demand and ensure the continued meeting of project budgets and schedules," ASC said.
"ASC takes this action reluctantly and only following a rigorous process of identifying and filling redeployment opportunities to other areas in the ASC Group."
The statement, however, opened the possibility of a future return for employees set to be let go: "With the Hunter Class Frigate Program set to commence production in 2020, it is anticipated that many former shipbuilding employees will have the opportunity to return to the company."
Despite the losses, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the positive growth in defence and dual-use export applications was an indication that Australian companies are growing and embracing opportunities overseas.
“It is pleasing to see strong growth in the number of small and medium-sized defence companies as well as primes across Australia competing to win overseas military contracts,” Minister Pyne said.
“Increased exports lead to the creation of more local jobs while giving businesses greater security as the peaks and troughs often experienced by Australia’s defence industry are able to be flattened out. It also ensures our capability remains world class.
“The growth in the number of applications being received by Defence demonstrates that Australian businesses are grasping export opportunities to extend their potential beyond domestic ADF contracts. The earning potential of defence and dual-use exports since the launch of the Defence Export Strategy in January 2018 was over $1 billion."