The Australian government will embark on a comprehensive review of Defence innovation, science and technology to help ensure the Australian Defence Force has access to the most cutting-edge capability in the world. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price today announced former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever would lead the independent review. It will examine the Defence organisation in its entirety to establish how it can more effectively deliver home-grown, innovative capabilities for the men and women of the Australian Defence Force. It will also seek to:
- Strengthen and improve the links between academia and industry to solve Defence’s unique capability challenges;
- Simplify contracts to support more rapid acquisitions and transitions from concept to capability; and
- Establish how Defence-funded research and innovation can be more effectively commercialised to give Defence a unique capability edge.
Price said the wide-ranging review would seek to ensure the Defence organisation was more commercially driven and outcomes focused to give the ADF access to world-leading technologies and capabilities. “We must ensure that we are taking full advantage of Australian innovations to maintain Defence’s capability edge while ensuring innovative businesses are given every chance of commercial success,” Price said. “We need a Defence organisation that can capitalise on the knowledge and skills of Australian industry and academia to develop mission-focused technology that can solve Defence’s unique capability challenges. Now, more than ever, we are looking to drive fit-for-purpose innovation where Australian industry and academia are partners in this critical mission. The innovation is being jointly developed with taxpayers’ funds and Australians need to know we are investing their money wisely.”
The review continues Minister Price’s push for substantial change to grow Australia’s defence industry. Price’s ‘five pillars’ approach, released in 2020, laid the foundations for a new direction to support the defence industry over the next decade. For more on the five pillars approach go to: https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/melissa-price/media-releases/op-ed-five-pillars-approach-support-defence-industry.
Peever, who also led the Defence First Principles Review in 2015, will provide a final report to Minister Price by the end of the year. Defence innovation programs, including the Next Generation Technology Fund and Defence Innovation Hub, will continue to operate as usual for duration of the review. The full Terms of Reference are attached and are also available at https://news.defence.gov.au/files/090921termsofreference-defenceinnovationreviewdocx.