NT unveils defence advocate to fight for defence work

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The Northern Territory has appointed a former senior defence official as the territory’s first defence and national security advocate.

Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d) Margaret Staib, AM, CSC, has taken on the new role and will look to maximise opportunities for NT, along with the $20 billion of defence construction projects that are planned for NT over the next 20 years.

Staib has over 30 years of experience in the Defence Force, bringing expertise in aviation, logistics and procurement management.

Staib HAS also served as the chief executive of Airservices Australia from 2012-2015.

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The territory Labor government said the soon to be established team in Canberra will aim to step up its engagement with Defence and ensure NT capitalises on current and future Defence opportunities.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the appointment will assist the needs of the NT construction industry and will also aid SMEs

“We have listened to the construction industry about the need for this position and taken action – it’s an investment in job creation right across the NT, which is what we promised,” he said.

“The territory has a strong construction industry with the capacity and proven capability to deliver construction projects and supply goods and services that meet the needs of the Australian and US defence forces.

“I want to make sure local businesses get the best shot at defence contracts and that we see literally thousands of jobs created here over the next 20 years – it will be Ms Staib’s role to advise the NT government on how to best position the territory and local industry to secure this investment.

“With $20 billion in defence construction projects planned for the territory, and more than $1 billion of the program already contracted, US Defense is about to commence its first construction procurement.”

The establishment of a defence and national security advocate was a recommendation of the Brodersen review, which was undertaken to help better position the Territory to capitalise on Defence projects.

Chief Minister Gunner said the NT government is working in partnership with Master Builders Australia, the Australian Industry and Defence Network, the Industry Capability Network and the Chamber of Commerce to capture opportunities from the defence presence.

“We can provide world-class products and services locally, which means we can produce a quality product for our Defence customers with the added benefit of local knowledge,” he said.

Other measures being implemented to support the territory’s bid for more Defence work includes:

  • Delivering training workshops to assist local NT Defence Support businesses get ready to compete for US Defense tendered construction work;
  • Boosting the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation’s DefenceNT team to deliver additional strategic policy, planning and engagement functions;
  • Funding to support the Australian Industry Defence Network NT (AIDN NT), including $30,000 to support the recruitment of a new CEO;
  • Funding the Industry Capability Network NT (ICN NT) to undertake a US Navy supply chain analysis to determine service and supply opportunities ($80,000);
  • Developing a Defence Engagement Plan in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, ICN NT, AID NT and the Master Builders Association; and
  • Funding AIDN NT to run specific Defence contractor training in Katherine and regional areas.

This article previously appeared on Defence Connect

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