Local defence manufacturers secure funding

South Australian companies Novafast and Abstec Calibrations have secured their share of $8 million in Federal Government funding to boost local defence manufacturing capability.

The Adelaide businesses are among 11 innovative Australian companies to receive funding through the latest round of the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) grants, which help build Australia’s sovereign industrial capacity to support the Australian Defence Force.

Recently diversifying into the defence sector, Novafast was awarded over $1.3 million to support the creation of a new state-of-the-art production line. The factory is set to include new robotics equipment for manufacturing technologies in composite products.

Novafast Business Manager David Figallo said the funding is a great incentive to upskill local industry, maximise Australian Industry Content (AIC) on Defence projects and increase employment opportunities, with the company expecting to create 20 new jobs for machine operators and engineers over the next 12 months.

“This initiative has given our business great opportunity and confidence to invest in South Australia and create more high skilled jobs here,” he said.

“Not only has the SICP funding help provided us with equipment to set up our new production lines, it has helped us innovate and create industry leading technology that is currently not being used. This in turn will help with long term sustainability and a high-quality production output.”

“It’s allowing us to invest into robotics and advanced machinery which will upskill our workforce making our workplace more attractive as we continue to be industry leaders on a global scale.”

The company is currently working with BAE Systems Maritime Australia on the Hunter class frigate project and is looking to explore further opportunities on naval shipbuilding and maritime projects to reignite manufacturing in South Australia.

Meanwhile, Abstec received over $185,000 to extend their existing laboratory area to meet increased demand from defence industry and to improve their National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) scope of accreditation.

Abstec Operations Manager Daniel Wiering said the funding will grow the company’s capabilities in the defence sector, as well as create employment and upskilling opportunities.

“Our grant was not specifically aimed at employment but as a result we would expect to be creating an additional technical staff position in the next 12 months,” he said

“Current technical staff will enhance their current skills (and our NATA accreditation capabilities) with the purchase and upgrade of identified measuring equipment.”

See the full list of SICP grant recipients here: https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/melissa-price/media-releases/australian-businesses-building-our-sovereign-defence-0

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