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Government backs Hunter-designed program to boost defence industry jobs and skills

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price at the Hunter Defence Conference today

Hunter Defence has won federal government support for a ground-breaking industry skilling program designed to help regional businesses win contracts in the lucrative defence supply chain.

Minister for Defence industry Melissa Price announced at the Hunter Defence conference this morning that the government would invest $430,000 to facilitate the rollout of the Defence Ready Pilot program developed by Hunter Defence.

The Defence Ready Pilot, to be offered to businesses free of charge, will provide vital information and education to help companies become ‘Defence Ready’.

“Regional businesses like those in the Hunter provide crucial support to Defence,” Minister Price said.

“They are supporting Australia’s security and ensuring our nation can achieve a robust, sovereign defence industry.

“The Defence Ready Pilot is all about helping more local businesses win Defence work.

“It will provide free online workshops to Hunter region businesses to help them understand what it takes to work with Defence, and how to navigate the defence industry landscape.”

The workshops will cover a range of topics, including tendering, cyber security requirements, export controls and business continuity.

The 13 online and interactive modules will be delivered over three tiers – Explorer, Exponent and Expert – aimed at assisting both businesses new to the sector and those already active in defence who want to become more competitive.

HunterNet  a member of Hunter Defence, will be the contracting authority for the program. The joint initiative between Hunter Defence, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC), Australian Industry and Defence Network AIDN and Goal Group is aimed at helping SMEs position their businesses to successfully support the Defence sector.

“We have created a program which will deliver insight and advice to SMEs based upon decades of hard-learned Defence business experience” said Bret Barton CEO of the Goal Group.

“The result will be a larger, more capable SME workforce who are Defence Ready.”

Hunter Defence Chair Tim Owen said the funding would boost Hunter business participation in the defence industry and was significant recognition by the federal government of the work being done by the Hunter Defence Task Force to increase defence opportunities for regional SMEs.

“Defence is an important industry to the Hunter and provides significant opportunities for SMEs to pivot as our regional economy continues to diversify,” Mr Owen said.

“We have been working closely with Minister Price and the federal and state governments to promote regional capability and this partnership demonstrates the value they see in the work we are doing with industry in the Hunter.”

The program will be delivered over the next 14 months. Businesses within the Hunter region can register their interest in the Defence Ready Pilot at