More opportunities to local industry in the Northern Territory

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Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference. Reuters/Nick Ansell/Pool

A pilot program has been announced by the Australian government to support local industries. It seeks to generate more opportunities to participate in major defence infrastructure projects.

The new program was announced by Minister for Defence Marise Payne on Thursday. The Local Industry Capability Plan pilot aims to ensure that the local industry has the best opportunities to be involved in the Australian government’s $200 billion investment in defence capability over the next years.

These include about $7.7 billion to boost defence facilities in the Northern Territory. Payne said the pilot program has been discussed with industry and business leaders during a meeting.

Under the new project, tenderers bidding for major capital facilities projects need to state how they have worked with the local industry in providing their solution, and how local industry will particularly be involved in delivering the work packages that underpin the project. Moreover, the pilot projects will state the development of a Defence Industry Participation Policy that is slated for release in the first months of 2018. The policy will come with a more consistent approach to maximising Australian and local industry involvement in defence procurement of $4 million and above.

According to a press release, the framework will be piloted by some projects that will go to market. One of these is the Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program, an around $230 million project covering at least 12 defence sites.

“I have recognised both the contribution local companies make to our defence capability and that we can, and should, do more to maximise those opportunities,” Payne said in a press release published at minister.defence.gov.au. She explained that this is about ensuring local companies in the vicinity of the nation’s defence bases, facilities and training areas are properly considered and have the opportunity to compete and win work.

Payne further stated that she will consider additional major capital facilities pilot projects while the policy is being developed. Changing the way that managing contractors sub-contract is another way the government will embark on to exploit local industry involvement.

“Defence has considered feedback from Northern Territory enterprises and will instead trial the use of smaller work packages for the upcoming Larrakeyah Redevelopment and Naval Operations in the North projects,” Payne said. Work elements or buildings will be tendered separately under this approach, instead of individual trade. It is expected that this initiative will result to more opportunities to the local industry in the Northern Territory.

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