Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the release of the South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report and Action Plan was a step in the right direction, but greater engagement between delivery partners was essential.
“We welcome this initiative from the Federal and South Australian governments,” Ms Jackson said.
“Building our defence capability to prepare Australia for the challenges ahead requires all parties working together – governments, industry and universities.
“The federal government’s defence strategic review contained no clear signal around universities’ role as Australia embarks on the most significant overhaul of our defence posture in a generation.
“This is despite the chronic workforce challenges that exist across the defence landscape, and a university qualification being essential to most of the jobs in demand.
“We need to do everything we can now to educate the workers we desperately need to deliver projects and initiatives that will keep Australians safe in the face of increasing geopolitical risks.
“AUKUS alone is expected to create 20,000 jobs and government has already acknowledged developing the skilled workforce to deliver the project is a problem.
“Universities are here to help. We would welcome the opportunity to engage further with government on the role we can play to support Australia’s national security needs.”