That through my relocation to Australia I had come to truly embrace the plight of the Nations’ SMEs, and have a keen appreciation for the challenges you face in internalizing Government’s agendas and policies; integrating into global supply chains and acquisition programs; and getting through your day-to-day business… the very essence of what makes your business so valuable to the future of Australia’s economic success.
I also understand the frustrations experienced when roadblocks associated with the aforementioned challenges arise. And I made it clear that as your advocate, I would work with all of you to develop strategic inroads, creative solutions, and sustainable plans supporting the growth of opportunities for your businesses. It is a commitment I made to all of you… to listen, to support, to honestly manage expectations, and to develop an engagement strategy promoting the best interests of your business. It is a commitment which I have honoured to the best of my ability over the past year.
It’s been a tremendous year for our community, one involving copious amounts of change.
In order to best support our Members against the backdrop of what is essentially an industrial revolution here in Australia, it was clear that the organisation must be at least as dynamic and as agile as the environment in which we are all operating.
We have comprehensively modernised who we are and how we operate. From little things like dispensing with snail mail and paper copies of EVERYTHING… to the establishment of rigorous processes and systems. We have a new Program Officer, Barry Laming… and we have farewelled Sharon after her many years of dedicated service. We recently elected a new Board of Directors, cementing a balance of historic knowledge and new, innovative thinking. In addition to our networking events and drinks, we have focused on the sort of professional policy, advocacy and strategic governance the sector requires to thrive in this environment. From revising the constitution, to determining that generating revenue solely off of membership is a risk we can’t afford (for those of you unaware… we take no state or federal monies for our operations, to ensure independence.) From creating a new, functional website … and moving to a far more central location, with a dedicated space for Members to use when in the CBD. In all of these ways, and in so many more, we have raised the tone of the organization to one in which key stakeholders from across the sector have faith in our ability to provide expert and credible advice and insights about the needs of the SME community. Which means that your voice is now being heard in ways in which it wasn’t previously, and that the issues and challenges you face are being shared in order to develop solutions that work for you.
The biggest change we undertook is one which was brewing for several years… the utility and benefit to Members of maintaining ties with AIDN National. After much deliberation, the Board determined that the direction and understanding of the SME community by the two organisations was so divergent as to necessitate a split. Our goal was to manage this transition with as much grace and as little disruption and confusion to Members, and the sector writ large, as possible.
At the same time we fostered stronger ties with partners from the Defence Teaming Centre in SA and the Henderson Alliance in WA. Together we joined in collaboration, forming the Australian Defence Alliance (ADA), a body focused on growing national and global opportunities for Members, in alignment with Government’s Defence Export Strategy. The ADA is a professionally managed industry body providing policy, advocacy, and strategic governance to SMEs in dual use and defence industry. Collaboration and capacity building at home and abroad is its’ focus. We have been well received by Government and Primes, and are acknowledged as an industry leader for our expertise and considered inputs.
Whilst each organisation continues to operate independently, on matters of national policy it speaks with a singular voice… led by Victoria. The three organisations have engaged in active information and resource sharing, enabling our combined 1,100+ members to benefit from their combined strengths. In the coming months other organisations with equities in the defence industry space will be joining their voices to ours, ensuring that the needs of SMEs across the nation are delivered in unity.
So with the creation of this new body, comes a new identity. Fully embracing our new partnership, we are now officially operating as the Australian Defence Alliance (Victoria). Recognizing that the goals of defence industry are interconnected and global, we have set about creating a visual identity that represents this reality. And so, I am pleased to present you with our new identity australiandefencealliance.org.au
The entire ADA (Vic) team looks forward to working with all of our Members, ensuring that you are each well-supported and positioned for success in the coming year and beyond.