Western Australia is one of the fastest growing defence industry hubs in Australia and offers attractive investment opportunities for those looking to get involved in the lucrative defence sector. With a range of government initiatives and burgeoning projects, WA’s defence industry is well-positioned to provide investors with a variety of options to choose from.
The WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan (Plan) outlines the State Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of defence industries, of which private investment will have a key role to play. According to the Plan, by 2030 WA will have developed into an internationally-recognised advanced manufacturing hub that is the pre-eminent base of operations for all Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Alliance operations in the Indian Ocean.
Also, as stated in the Plan, defence industries’ annual economic contribution and exports will double 2020 levels by 2030, and WA will be the primary location for vessel maintenance, sustainment, upgrades and decommissioning. The State will remain Australia’s hub for minor naval shipbuilding and will continue being an export leader in minor vessel design, construction and sustainment.
The WA and Federal Governments have invested heavily in the State’s defence industry, with a range of initiatives aimed at developing the sector. The Plan has been highly successful in creating new opportunities for investment, with several high-level projects now underway throughout the State. Both the State and Federal Governments have indicated they will support investments that will develop and grow WA’s defence industries, and there are many funds and grants available to facilitate this.
Shipbuilding and maritime sector
One of the most attractive investment opportunities in WA’s defence industries is in the shipbuilding and maritime sector. With the Royal Australian Navy’s massive $90 billion Future Submarine Program, the State is set to benefit from an influx of investment and jobs. This program is expected to bring in up to 4,000 jobs, providing a huge boost to the State’s economy.
WA is home to the Australian Marine Complex at Henderson – one of two principal shipbuilding hubs in Australia. Shipbuilding in WA has been strongly supported by both the Federal and State Governments. The Federal Government has invested $4.3b towards WA’s industry and has approved 37 vessels to built at Henderson. The complex also supports the sustainment and upgrade activities, including mid-cycle docking, for other national naval vessels.
Research and innovation
Sustained investment in research and innovation will anchor WA’s defence industries’ growth. In partnership with the Federal Government, the WA Government established the Defence Science Centre (DSC). DSC’s aim is to create connections across universities, industries and government to develop the State’s science and research capabilities, and has grant and funding opportunities available to support commercial projects.
Technology and cyber security
As the WA and national defence industries develop, the reliance on technology, information and connectivity will become increasingly paramount. Understanding and preventing potential threats, and protecting data and networks from unauthorised threats will be vital for defence, arguably more so than any other sector. As such, cyberspace has been named the fifth zone of warfare, along with air, land, sea and space.
Effective cyber security and efficient technological processes will no longer be a ‘nice to have’, but critical. WA is in a strong position to benefit from this increase in demand for cutting-edge defence technology as the State has a burgeoning tech sector with many organisations well-established or emerging in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous systems. These technologies are already being used in the defence sector and provide strong investment appeal for growth and capital gain.
Finally, the defence industry in WA also offers a range of other investment opportunities from aerospace and defence manufacturing, aerospace and defence services, providing a diverse range of opportunities to get involved in the sector.