Defence Ready initiative opens door for local business

Defence Ready initiative
A Defence Ready initiative sponsored by Bundaberg Regional Council has equipped 16 local businesses to help obtain defence contracts.

Defence consultant Vaxa has delivered a report on Council’s Defence Ready initiative outlining the region's “strategic advantages” after 16 local businesses completed the program.

The report highlights the region’s ideal positioning to vie for defence contracts and reveals that at least two local businesses are already reaping the benefits of the Defence Ready initiative.

Vaxa Group managing partner Todd Crowley said he had been pleased with the local response to the program.

“There’s obviously a lot of appetite to provide to defence and defence prime contractors,” Todd said.

“We’re still supporting a handful of the businesses who we believe have the best opportunity to be successful in obtaining work in this particular space.”

He said just one of those examples was Queensland Computers, which was a “wonderful business that didn’t know what they had”.

“We’ve already identified an opportunity for them and introduced them to a major prime contractor,” he said.

“There’s a large US prime contractor who has a contract to support the Wide Bay training area.

“They had been flying people up from Melbourne to support that program because they didn’t realise there was the ability and capability in Bundaberg to support it.”

Queensland Computers director Geoff Augutis said moving into the defence supply space wouldn’t happen overnight, however so far the Defence Ready initative had offered “some really positive potential for the future”.

“Often with these large clients it is hard to know who to talk to in order to put your company forward,” Geoff said.

“Vaxa being industry specific has been able to assist here.

“We never would have known about organisations like Vaxa without the council engaging their services and offering it to the business community, at no cost to us.

“It is really good to see programs like this offered to businesses to add actual value to local businesses.”

Vaxa Group strategic engagement and planning consultant Paddy Hallinan said the program had been beneficial.

He said it had revealed that there was a wealth of talent and service capability in the region, even to the businesses themselves.

“There are some businesses here with some clear points of difference that even they didn’t really appreciate how much of a point of difference they were which would make them immediately of interest to large primes,” Paddy said.

“Part of the program realisation has effectively displayed there is a lot more to Bundaberg than meets the eye.”

Bundaberg well-placed to capitalise on Defence Ready initiative

He said Bundaberg Region businesses were well positioned to land defence contracts.

The proximity to Shoalwater and Wide Bay training areas is just one example of this.

“In that sense its proximity to those things makes it very attractive to defence here and overseas.”

As part of its report, Vaxa also investigated the potential of the port and the role it could play in securing defence contracts for local businesses.

Paddy said it was a valuable asset with multiple sectors able to take advantage of a fully functioning port that might involve things like port services, dry dock maintenance and cargo.

“Whichever way you take the journey you always seem to end up back at the port,” he said.