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Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

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Defence sector expertise, support and resources to help your business go further

Defence sector expertise, support and resources to help your business go further

Image credit: Treasury NSW

In 2018, the defence sector in Regional NSW contributed A$2.3 billion to the economy.

NSW has the largest number of defence bases and facilities of any state in Australia and is home to over one quarter of its military and defence civilian personnel. Defence facilities generate economic benefits, including the construction of infrastructure and the extensive utilisation of local goods and services.

The defence industry in NSW has core strengths and expertise in the most critical capabilities. These include advanced and subsystem manufacturing, sustainment of major systems, complex project management, complex systems integration, design and production.

As a result, all the major defence primes either have their headquarters in NSW or have a substantial presence in the state.

40% of the economic contribution of the NSW defence industry occurs in Regional NSW. For example, in the Hunter and Shoalhaven regions, the economic activity attributable to defence is estimated to be around 10% of Gross Regional Product.

Defence sector companies in Regional NSW are supported by a complete ecosystem of critical industrial capabilities, a highly skilled workforce, and world class academic and research institutions.

NSW Defence Bases

Defence sector expertise, support and resources to help your business go further

Regional NSW's defence precincts

Regional NSW's defence precincts

Image credit: Treasury NSW

Regional NSW’s defence industry features clusters of large-scale international prime contractors, agile SMEs and world-class research and development institutions.

Regional NSW’s defence industry features clusters of large-scale international prime contractors, agile SMEs and world-class research and development institutions.

Strengths have developed around Defence Force presence and requirements. For example:

  • Hunter region: Air Force air combat capability, airborne surveillance, aerospace, maintenance, repair and overhaul, electronics, advanced manufacturing, infantry training, ship building and repair.
  • Illawarra-Shoalhaven region (Nowra): Naval Aviation, defence rotary wing training, air targets, electronics and testing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, systems integration and simulation.
  • Riverina-Murray region: Australian Defence Force training, base support, logistics, munitions and satellite communications.
  • Illawarra-Shoalhaven region (Wollongong): Armoured steel plate, manufacturing, welding, electronics and communications.

The defence industry is supported by a network of service suppliers. The presence of substantial, technologically-advanced defence capabilities within the state presents diverse opportunities for businesses. Many major international companies have already established headquarters or operations in NSW.

Recent developments offer long-term investment opportunities, including the Australian Government’s commitment of A$200 billion to modernise Australia’s defence capability, guaranteeing long-term demand for sovereign defence industry capabilities, products and services.

Government support for the defence sector in Regional NSW

The NSW Government’s 2017 Defence and Industry Strategy, ‘Strong, Smart and Connected’ supports further development of defence industry precincts.

The dual objectives of the strategy are to support defence and drive greater investment and innovation in NSW. Defence NSW is a compact, dedicated team formed within NSW Treasury to execute the strategy. 

The strategy will grow and connect regional networks to enhance collaboration and develop business opportunities. The Government will also facilitate regional opportunities for the defence industry to invest and expand.

NSW is committed to creating the conditions for sustainable, technologically-advanced and globally-competitive defence industries across the State.

For more details, visit the assistance page.

Leading defence companies already based in Regional NSW

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Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
DUBBO NSW 2830
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