Defence and Regional Communities: Submission
Defence is a significant economic player in many parts of regional Australia through its employment and contracting opportunities. However, the presence of Defence training activities and facilities does not guarantee economic benefits for those communities in terms of Defence contract dollars earned by local businesses.
The RAI’s analysis identifies that Townsville has led the way capturing nearly $1 billion in defence contracts between 2009 and 2013, while other regions with significant Defence presence like Wagga Wagga and Katherine have been less successful capturing only 10 per cent of the Townsville figure during the same period.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) submission to a Senate Inquiry into the impact of Defence training activities and facilities on rural and regional communities outlines how the government can support much stronger outcomes for regions that host Defence.
The RAI has recommended the creation of new policies to support rural and regional businesses, including a rural and regional procurement policy and supporting activity to develop the networks and capabilities required for local businesses to engage with Defence contracting opportunities. This will complement local and State government and business level efforts to better engage with regional Defence opportunities.
By pursuing this strategy, the RAI sees a great opportunity to increase the contribution of rural and regional communities to the Defence agenda, and ensure that the Defence presence is valued and welcomed.