Defence and security decision makers from across the world are meeting at Optus Stadium today (25 August) for the start of the 2022 Indian Ocean Defence and Security Conference.  More than 50 speakers and panellists will share their expert insights over the next two days, including from the Australian Defence Force, Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Simon Stuart and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AM.

The conference will feature domestic and international speakers and panellists from government, industry and academia, including Australia’s Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh, Vice Admiral (ret.) Shekhar Sinha, who served in the Indian Navy for 42 years, BAE Systems Australia Chief Operating Officer Mr Darren Kirkby and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar.

It is anticipated about 500 people will attend in person. The theme for this year’s conference, ‘Beyond Transit: The emerging security relevance of the Indian Ocean’, recognises the security challenges facing communities that depend on the Indian Ocean for transit and trade. The extensive conference program will cover topics that consider the implications of current local and geopolitical issues for the defence and security sectors, and discuss outcomes from the establishment of AUKUS.

About 35 organisations will also have the opportunity to showcase their capability, innovation and leading technology, and seek partnerships to deliver world-class, globally competitive defence and security products and services. The Western Australian Police Force will be exhibiting their innovative, world-leading capabilities and technology, including Nearme4cops, SILVA Hub and BW. There will also be a personnel presence from the defence domains of land, air, maritime and space. 

Previously known as the WA Indo-Pacific Defence Conference, it is the first time the State’s flagship defence and security conference has been held since the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference was organised by the McGowan Government, in partnership with the Perth USAsia Centre and the UWA Defence and Security Institute.

Premier Mark McGowan said “With the announcement of the Defence Strategic Review earlier this month, it is timely that we have this opportunity to discuss the strategic importance and capability of WA. WA is well positioned to support broader bilateral and multilateral exercises, and is the centre of national and international defence planning for the Indo-Pacific region. Our rapid, global leading technology, and solutions-focused aligned industry sectors, such as oil and gas, resources and mining, can be readily applied to defence to increase sovereign capability. Unlocking the full potential of our defence industry is a key part of this Government’s plan to diversify the State’s economy and secure the jobs of the future for Western Australians.”

Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia said “Following the COVID-19 pandemic, WA’s flagship defence and security conference has returned bigger and better than before. Not only has it expanded in length and attendance, we have advanced the way we think and talk about WA in relation to defence and security, locally, domestically and internationally. As Australia’s gateway to the Indian Ocean, there is no better location than Perth to discuss the defence and security issues impacting countries across the whole Indo-Pacific region.”

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