25/05/2016 - 11:59

SME funding boost for defence work

25/05/2016 - 11:59

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The state government has cast a wide net in its bid to boost defence-related work in Western Australia, with 16 small businesses – ranging from a landscape gardener in Port Hedland to a signage contractor in Bellevue – sharing in the latest round of defence-specific grants.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government has cast a wide net in its bid to boost defence-related work in Western Australia, with 16 small businesses – ranging from a landscape gardener in Port Hedland to a signage contractor in Bellevue – sharing in the latest round of defence-specific grants.

About $350,000 has been divided up among the 16 businesses, with the funding provided by the state government’s Royalties for Regions program and a defence-specific round of its Industry Facilitation and Support program.

The funds were announced as French company DCNS held a seminar in Fremantle to discuss innovation with local businesses for the design and construction of submarines for the $50 billion contract with the Australian Department of Defence.

The recipients will use the funds to capitalise on defence-related contracts in WA, with three Pilbara-based businesses focusing on property maintenance, fencing, and the movement of vehicles and equipment for the Australian Army and Defence Housing.

Port Hedland-based Pilbara Landscapes, a landscaping construction and maintenance business, with has been awarded $19,250 to purchase a new excavator, which will allow the business to bid for more contracts and offer a broader scope of works to its customers.

Pilbara Towing, which has previously worked with the Army, will use its $26,590 in funding to purchase a new super tilt tray, which will allow the company to compete for work that requires the movement of larger loads.

Indigo Cabinets, also based in the Pilbara, received $30,000 to purchase an edgebander, which will help the business compete for defence-related property portfolio maintenance contracts.

There are over 150 WA-based design, support and service companies that provide manufacturing to the local maritime, defence and resource sectors.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the funding would help the businesses to be in the best possible position to bid for defence-related contracts.

“It is pleasing to see a number of companies have taken the opportunity to access this funding to help transition into the defence space,” he said.

“For example, Award Signs in Bellevue will expand its premises to create more space and purchase a latex printer.

“Award Signs has been reliant on the resources sector for a number of years and with the change from construction to operation, the company is now looking to supply other areas including defence.

“This direct investment into their business will boost its capacity to respond to current and future customer needs.”

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said $130,000 of funding was provided through the Royalties for Regions program.

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