Upper Spencer Gulf leaders attend Defence gala dinner

DEFENCE BOOST: Expanding the Cultana Training Area has been identified as an opportunity to grow the Upper Spencer Gulf's involvement in the defence industry.
DEFENCE BOOST: Expanding the Cultana Training Area has been identified as an opportunity to grow the Upper Spencer Gulf's involvement in the defence industry.

LEADERS of the Upper Spencer Gulf dined with members of federal and state government at the Defence Teaming Centre’s annual gala dinner in Adelaide, with an aim to grow the region’s defence industry.

Port Augusta City Council CEO John Banks, Sarah Joyce from Max Cranes and Mayor Sam Johnson represented Port Augusta at the dinner, rubbing shoulders with federal Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and state Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith. Mayor Johnson, the Chair of the Spencer Gulf Cities Association, said the event presented the Upper Spencer Gulf representatives with a number of networking opportunities.

“The Upper Spencer Gulf has long played a part in supporting the defence industry and we have identified the expansion of the Cultana training facility and new Military vehicle and vessel construction as opportunities to grow the region’s involvement and capabilities in defence industries,” he said.

“We see that maximising local business participation in Cultana’s expansion, including the initial construction and ongoing range maintenance and servicing, is a key opportunity for our three cities, however contracting with defence has traditionally been a notoriously difficult process for local businesses.”

A major topic of discussion was the potential opportunity for local businesses with interest in defence componentry and technology to visit major contractor sites in Northern Adelaide. These sites include Techport, Technology Park and the Edinburgh Defence Precinct.

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer and Port Pirie Mayor John Rohde agreed that the defence industry provides local businesses in the Upper Spencer Gulf with a great opportunity to diversify the region’s economy.

“We are really keen to keep fostering a strong relationship with the military to maximise this economic boost during future exercises,” Mayor Rohde said.

SA Liberal leader Steven Marshall and Nick Xenophon Team representatives were also in attendance.