Defence in SA: an opportunity for engineering contribution

Engineers Australia’s South Australia division has based its 2021 Fellows Program on the key sectors of the state’s growth plan, to highlight opportunities for engineering contribution.
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With a view towards achieving sustained Gross State Product growth of three per cent, the South Australian Government undertook a review of its international and interstate engagement bodies and functions.   

This step was one of the first taken by the government after the 2018 election. The former New Zealand Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Steven Joyce, was appointed to undertake the review.  

A key recommendation from Joyce’s review was the identification of key sectors that would likely have comparative advantage and therefore attract investment.   

These sectors then formed the basis for the SA Growth State Plan and are the focus of the Engineers Australia 2021 Fellows Program.   

One example from the Plan includes the creation of 4000 direct ship building jobs by 2030.  

Richard Price, CEO of Defence SA, recently spoke to Fellows on the Program about the key sectors in the SA Strategy. Of significant interest was the cyber defence sector in South Australia, which employs nearly as many people as the ships and submarines sector.  

The state defence sector strategy states South Australia is well-placed to respond to the national need for increased systems and cyber capability through the development of human capital, regional services, and security product development. 

Price also highlighted the considerable opportunities in associated areas of defence, fulfilling the concept that community benefits derived from working in areas like defence are considerable. 

The space industry is another priority growth sector for South Australia and will form the basis for discussions at the next Fellows meeting.  

The state’s space industry sector plan includes a target average growth rate of 5.8 per cent yearly to 2030. If achieved, the gross value add for the sector will reach $250 million according to the plan.  

Engineers Australia’s South Australian Fellows Program will continue in late May, with a focus on the Space Sector Plan. Further sector plan sessions will cover energy and mining, technology, health and medical industries, and food, wine and agribusiness. Fellows can visit the events page to register for the next session.