Key decision makers, experts, supply chain purchasers and prospective suppliers in the defence industry will meet in Perth today for the first Western Australian Defence Conference.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the conference, organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, would provide local defence-related businesses with tools and information on how to make the most of the opportunities available.
Mr Mischin said WA's defence sector had become one of the State's economic success stories, and the Liberal National Government was committed to further growing the industry and securing local jobs for decades to come.
"Western Australia has the infrastructure, capability and expertise to deliver future defence programs and local businesses are ready to take on a greater role in the defence industry," he said.
"Nowhere else in Australia can you find an experienced shipbuilding industry with the likes of ASC, Austal, BAE Systems, Raytheon, SAAB and Thales in one location, directly opposite the nation's biggest naval base, HMAS Stirling.
"There are currently more than 180 defence-related companies providing up to 4,000 direct jobs for contracts worth more than $700 million.
"Today's conference will inform local businesses how they can enter the defence market and also provides assistance for those currently in the supply chain on how to maximise opportunities."
The Minister said the Liberal National Government was supporting WA businesses to secure defence industry work through its Industry Facilitation and Support Program, which had provided $4.4 million to 257 small-to-medium sized enterprises since 2011.
"This has resulted in more than $330 million in contract awards and 625 new employment opportunities, including 73 apprenticeships," he said.
"The current round is offering local businesses up to $25,000 in matched funding to assist them to further develop their products and services and ultimately increase their competitiveness. The scope of this round extends to cyber security and drones, which are becoming increasingly important in the defence industry."
Minister's office - 6552 5600