The Defence Strategic Review highlights the significant workforce challenges facing defence, jeopardising Australia’s ability to deliver the projects and initiatives outlined in the review.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said universities are key to addressing the skills and knowledge gaps evident across the defence establishment.
“Universities are an essential partner of government and industry in meeting Australia’s defence needs – from providing skilled workers to producing world-class research,” Ms Jackson said.
“It’s surprising that government has not given us a clear signal around our role as Australia embarks on the most significant overhaul of our defence posture in a generation.
“We will continue to work with government to harness the full power of our world-class universities and their ability to boost the flow of workers and research that defence desperately needs.
“We are already behind the eight ball. Workforce shortages are plaguing our defence force, defence industries and complementary sectors, causing project delays and capability gaps.
“We need extra cyber specialists to combat foreign actors, more engineers to facilitate AUKUS and additional strategic analysts to assess and respond to geopolitical shifts in our region.
“These highly skilled people are educated in universities, and they are needed in greater numbers.
“Universities can’t keep doing more with less. Government needs to get serious about the workforce challenges holding back Australia’s defence capability. We are here to help.”
Read Universities Australia’s full submission to the Defence Strategic Review.