Defence capabilities

Canberra is at the forefront of innovation to serve the growing needs of defence, security, civilian and international allied forces. Canberra born innovations and cutting-edge technologies now feature prominently in defence either sourced directly or through global supply chain solutions, particularly in the capabilities of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber security, professional services, ICT integrated systems, space and spatial sciences, and human performance improvement in operation of vehicles, aircraft and equipment.

With our close proximity to procuring agencies and key decision makers, coupled with Canberra’s thriving and vibrant defence related small-medium enterprises, defence primes and supply chain participants see a clear advantage in locating their Australian defence presence in Canberra. In addition, Canberra has an abundance of high-tech companies developing viable, cutting-edge technologies and services in fields such as renewable energy, ICT and e-government and health and sports technologies, providing a fertile environment for cross sector innovation.

In 2016, the Australian Government released the Defence White Paper (DWP) committing $195 billion of capital expenditure over the next 10 years to renewal of Defence capability; a commitment underpinned by a new approach to procurement and recognising Australia’s defence industry as a fundamental input to capability.  Of this, $17 billion is earmarked for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, space, electronic warfare and cyber security ‑ areas in which Canberra has significant strengths and advantages.

The scale and potential of our capability begins with our people and our ability to attract talent and knowledge. Over a third of Defence’s Capability and Acquisition Sustainment Support Service company panel members are located in Canberra.  We have the country’s most highly educated workforce and are home to five Australian universities including Australia’s highest globally ranked university, the Australian National University (ANU). UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of Canberra also have enormous domain expertise. In addition, Canberra is home to leading research organisations such as Data61, CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. Canberra is distinguished by a unique collaborative environment between research, business and government. Our research agencies and higher education institutions are connected and engaged with our key capability industries and are consistently growing talent, expertise and capability. Our flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture sees Canberra produce the highest number of patents per capita in Australia.

The ACT Government is committed to working with the sector to help build a significant and globally competitive industry. By working with our innovative small, medium and large enterprises, our world-class research and higher education institutions and our national security agencies, we are positioning the Canberra Region to make the most of the significant opportunities arising from the Defence White Paper.

Click here to view Canberra’s Defence Capability Directory