Largest de­fence com­pany now a con­duit to gov­ern­ment

Townsville Bulletin - - Text The Editor -

THE head of the coun­try’s largest de­fence com­pany will now speak as head of the coun­try’s de­fence in­dus­try.

BAE Sys­tems Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim McDow­ell has been ap­pointed chair­man of the Ai Group’s de­fence coun­cil, rep­re­sent­ing all Aus­tralian com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the de­fence in­dus­try as a con­duit to the De­fence Min­is­ter and the Depart­ment of De­fence.

Mr McDow­ell said he had al­ready served a 10-year ‘‘ ap­pren­tice­ship’’ as a board mem­ber but the ap­point­ment as chair­man al­lowed him to re­vi­talise the role at a time when de­fence spend­ing was un­der scrutiny.

‘‘ It is the cus­to­dian of the health of the in­dus­try in a non-com­pany way,’’ he said. ‘‘ Given de­fence is work­ing un­der much stricter Bud­get pres­sures . . . it is im­por­tant de­fence ( depart­ment) and ind u s t r y u n d e r s t a n d e a c h other and how that money is

Jim McDow­ell spent.’’ It will also give Mr McDow­ell the op­por­tu­nity to raise com­mon is­sues the in­dus­try is strug­gling with, in­clud­ing the skills short­age - he re­cently chaired a Gov­ern­ment task­force as­sess­ing Aus­tralia’s ap­pren­tice­ship schemes that found them want­ing – and the need to man­age the de­fence pro­ject pipe­line to avoid ‘‘ lumpy’’ d e ma n d . ‘ ‘ I f y o u s p e n d money in a lumpy way, you end up with a boom and bust cy­cle,’’ he said.

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