Local defence expert to head up Defence SA

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Susan Close MP
Deputy Premier
Minister for Defence and Space Industries

One of South Australia’s leading defence industry experts, Matt Opie, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Defence SA.

Mr Opie replaces outgoing CE Richard Price who resigned in December 2023.

An Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College Duntroon graduate, Mr Opie has held senior defence positions across government, industry and academia over the course of his 30-year career.

He served as an Officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals both in Australia and the Middle East.

Since then, he has worked on defence projects in the Asia-Pacific, US and Europe working with defence forces, governments and the private sector.

In 2017, Mr Opie began his existing position as Director of Defence and Space at the University of South Australia. Prior to this, he held senior positions at SAAB Australia and at BAE Systems Australia.

Mr Opie has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration and has built an extensive network across Australian and internationally.

His tenure comes as South Australia embarks on AUKUS project, as well as other high-tech, transformative industrial programs aimed at boosting the nation’s defence capability.

This includes shipbuilding projects such as the Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and Hunter class frigates, Collins class full-cycle docking and life-of-type extensions and the Hobart class destroyer combat system upgrade.

Mr Opie’s role will also encompass leadership of the South Australian Space Industry Centre, Veterans SA and Defence Innovation Partnership, driving innovation and excellence across these sectors.

Mr Opie will commence his five-year tenure from Monday 15 April 2024.

Quotes attributable to Susan Close

The recruitment process identified Matt as a highly credentialled and experienced candidate for this important role.

It is great that we were able to find someone with Matt’s experience right here in Adelaide.

He joins Defence SA as we begin the acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet through the AUKUS program, as well as other programs involving advanced technologies including artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum computing.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the outgoing CE Richard Price for his hard work over recent years, as well as the Acting CE Reg Carruthers for his efforts.

Quotes attributable to Matt Opie, incoming Chief Executive, Defence SA

I’m excited to be able to contribute to the defence sector and the state’s prosperity during this critical period of continuous naval shipbuilding and AUKUS.

I look forward to bringing my skills and experience in defence and space, industry and research to support the defence and space sectors in South Australia

Defence SA has an enviable reputation as a leader in the defence sector Australia wide and I am very proud and excited to be able to lead the agency.

South Australia is known as the Defence State due to our strong history and capabilities in supporting defence, industry and research over many decades and I look forward to leading Defence SA to continue this important work.

Published On: March 15th, 2024