09/04/2018 - 14:30

Johnston in defence export role

09/04/2018 - 14:30

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Former defence minister and senator for Western Australia David Johnston has been appointed Australia’s first defence export advocate, after the federal government committed to spend an additional $20 million every year to support the sector.

David Johnston meeting with US representatives as defence minister. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Former defence minister and senator for Western Australia David Johnston has been appointed Australia’s first defence export advocate, after the federal government committed to spend an additional $20 million every year to support the sector.

Mr Johnston served as defence minister under Tony Abbott from September 2013 until a reshuffle in December 2014, after coming under fire for comments critical of government-owned ASC’s shipbuilding capabilities.

He will work closely with the Australian Defence Export Office, which was announced as part of the government’s Defence Export Strategy in January.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the appointment would expand the government’s promotional reach.

“As a former minister for defence, Mr Johnston brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of (the) Australian defence industry to this significant role,” he said.

“I work tirelessly to advocate for Australian industries looking to sell their world-class defence materiel to our friends and allies, but I can’t be everywhere.

“Our defence export advocate will help connect Australian industry to overseas governments and defence forces, build relationships in our key markets and act as a focal point for long term campaigns.

“An exporting company is better able to expand and employ more.”

Further aspects of the defence export plan include a $3.8 billion defence export loan facility through the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

About $4 million will be offered in grants for small and medium enterprise business to increase capability and $3 million will be spent on expanding a global supply chain program.

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