WA leadership of a rebadged defence sector support division, the Office of Defence Industry Support, is primed to deliver opportunities for local SMEs.
THE Office of Defence Industry Support is a division within the Department of Defence considered to be a one-stop shop for defence industry support and guidance.
It is a link for Australian small and medium enterprises seeking to enter the sector or expand their footprint.
ODIS has been in development for many months and entered the market in November 2021.
Major publicity only occurred in the past month and a half, as staff had been employed and launch events were run across the country, including in Western Australia.
ODIS is the conduit into the Department of Defence (Defence) for SMEs and businesses.
“ODIS employs a proactive strategy to support businesses as they build capability that aligns with Defence’s requirements, throughout the capability lifecycle,” a Defence spokesperson said.
“The core function of ODIS is to provide advice, guidance and ongoing mentoring services to SMEs.
“ODIS industry engagement teams are located throughout Australia, including WA. SMEs can engage with ODIS advisers through a number of pathways including outreach programs, workshops, networking events, industry associations and trade shows.
“Larger ODIS forums are being held in major cities, whereas smaller defence industry briefing events are being held in regional areas.”
The regional engagement is worth acknowledging as it is under-represented, in my opinion.
Defence is a national challenge, and therefore requires national solutions, harnessing the best our entire country has to offer.
“With ODIS’s new state-based focus, the industry engagement teams travel to regional centres to deliver outreach programs, providing tailored briefings to industry either working in the Defence sector or from adjacent sectors. So far this year, ODIS has held events in Bunbury, Exmouth, and Perth.
“ODIS is planning more events in WA later in the year.”
A natural question, then, is how will ODIS integrate with other industry support bodies such as the Australian Industry Defence Network, Henderson Alliance and Defence West?
“ODIS is also working closely with state and territory governments, industry associations, SMEs and primes to position defence industry to deliver capability to equip and sustain the Australian Defence Force,” the spokesperson stated, making clear the shared objective that unites all.
I can personally attest to this collaboration, via multi-party working groups with ODIS in my role with AIDN.
The reason this integration of ODIS into the marketplace is so seamless is because the concept of ODIS is not new.
There will be many people who recall what ODIS replaced, an entity called the Centre for Defence Industry Capability.
CDIC was an evolution of the former Business Access Offices, which newcomers to defence industry may not recall.
The BAO was a two-person operation in WA. As the transition to CDIC occurred, WA’s support on the ground was sometimes reduced to as little as one person, splitting his time across other roles.
That representative, Paul Hosie, worked tirelessly with limited resources constantly increasing demand.
His passion for the sector and work ethic was admirable in the face of such staff shortages.
The development of ODIS was a consultative process, and I was, through my representation of industry, one of many who provided guidance to then minister Melissa Price.
We discussed the need for resources.
We needed more people like Mr Hosie, 10 times more if we were to meet the demand the state was generating for these services, and to meet the needs of Australian capability in support of defence.
Thankfully, ODIS has been launched with a collection of excellent people in WA, supported by wonderful leadership in Kate Cameron, and with plans to add more regional-focused staff in the months ahead.
This is immensely promising for industry in WA, as it provides further opportunities for businesses to enter Defence and to enhance their capabilities and defence readiness.
Interested businesses can find ODIS online.
Their online presence includes descriptions of what ODIS can do for businesses, and a useful Defence readiness spreadsheet.
If your business is ready to take the next step, the Defence spokesperson recommends reaching out to a member of the ODIS team to discuss the range of defence industry services that ODIS can provide for your business.
• Kristian Constantinides is the general manager of Airflite, and chairperson of AIDN-WA; the opinions expressed are purely his own.