Defence innovation, tech to undergo review

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Defence innovation, tech to undergo review

Former Rio Tinto managing director drafted in.

The federal government has launched a review of Defence innovation, science and technology to ensure the Australian Defence Force continues to have access to the “most cutting-edge capability”.

Defence industry minister Melissa Price announced the review on Monday to look at how “homegrown, innovative capabilities” could be more effectively delivered across the organisation.

The review will be led by former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever, who also conducted the first principles review back in 2015.

Price said the review would “seek to ensure the Defence organisation is more commercially driven and outcomes focused to give the ADF access to world-leading technologies and capabilities”.

“We must ensure that we are taking full advantage of Australian innovations to maintain Defence’s capability edge while ensuring innovative businesses are given every chance of commercial success,” she said.

“We need a Defence organisation that can capitalise on the knowledge and skills of Australian industry and academia to develop mission-focused technology that can solve Defence’s unique capability.

“Now, more than ever, we are looking to drive fit-for-purpose innovation where Australian industry and academia are partners in this critical mission.

“The innovation is being jointly developed with taxpayer's funds and Australians need to know we are investing their money wisely.”

The review will look at the governance, management and funding of all Defence-funded innovation programs, particularly the next generational technologies fund and Defence innovation hub.

Price added that the billion-dollar fund and hub will continue to operate while the review is ongoing.

The review will also look at Defence’s organisational structure, governance and funding of the Defence innovation ecosystem, according to the terms of reference.

Other focus areas include how to create a stronger link between academia and industry to solve Defence challenges and more effectively commercialise Defence-funded research and innovation.

Peever is expected to provide a final report to Price by the end of 2021.

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