The Australian government is teaming up with Newcastle-based defence industry association HunterNet to deliver a ground-breaking program aimed at helping local businesses win Defence contracts. The $430,000 Defence Ready Pilot, to be offered to businesses free of charge, will provide vital information and education to help companies become ‘defence ready’.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said HunterNet would partner with Defence’s Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) – considered the shopfront for Defence work – to deliver the program. Price said the pilot would assist businesses who are new to working with Defence, as well as those wanting to improve their business practices to become more competitive when bidding for Defence work.

“Regional businesses like those in the Hunter provide crucial support to Defence,” 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. Through targeted partnerships like the Defence Ready Pilot, Defence is able to engage with a broader group of businesses who are able to support the defence industry supply chain.

Senator for New South Wales Hollie Hughes welcomed the initiative, describing it as a major boost for small and medium businesses in the region. “I would encourage any interested Hunter region business to get involved in this fantastic initiative,” Hughes said.

The Defence Ready Pilot will be conducted by CDIC and HunterNet over the next 14 months. Businesses within the New South Wales Hunter region can register their interest in the Defence Ready Pilot at


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