Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne has opened the new headquarters of Nowra defence supplier Air Affairs Australia in the Albatross Aviation Technology Park.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Joined by Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis, Ms Payne heard how the company, started 30 years ago by current CEO Chris Sievers had almost quadrupled its workforce over the past two years.
“We started 30 years ago. In recent years, about three to five years, we have gone from 35 employees to 130,” Mr Sievers said.
“We needed to be in the Park. We wanted to be in the park, we believe it is where we can and will grow.
“And we are keen to see further growth in the area and the technology park has been a catalyst for that to happen.
“We are looking forward to growing further.”
The company flies approximately 4000 hours a year for the Australian Defence Force for air support and about 750 hours for the National Fire Authority mapping bushfires, including the recent Tathra fires.
The company also has a manufacturing facility and exports products throughout the world, which Mr Sievers said was growing steadily.
He said the growth was down to his determination and that of his team to make an Australian contribution.
“This has been overseas companies in the past. We are very passionate about what we are doing. We were determined to win this contract and we did. We are now doing KPIs never seen before and the customer is enjoying the benefit of that.”
Senator Payne said Air Affairs was a local success-story.
“Air Affairs Australia is a unique Nowra success story,” she said.
“It has grown its workforce from 35 to 130 people and increased turnover five-fold.
“It provides the Australian Defence Force with cutting-edge, specialised aerial target systems as well as a range of other support to ADF training and spares for ADF aircraft.
“Using aerial target systems enables the ADF to undertake specialised training effectively and efficiently, using realistic scenarios that ensure our personnel have the skills needed to respond to any threats.”
Air Affairs also supplies specialist jet air support to the Air Force to support fast jet air operations training through mission type scenarios.
Senator Payne said the Turnbull Government would be investing $200 billion in defence capability over the next decade to ensure the Australian Defence Force was equipped to succeed in its challenging strategic environment.
“This investment in our nation’s safety and security has the added advantage of driving investment and jobs growth in cities big and small right around Australia, including Nowra, as evidenced by Air Affairs Australia’s extraordinary expansion,” she said.
“This sort of expansion says a great deal about their confidence in this area and their confidence in the defence economy within Australia.”
Mrs Sudmalis said the region was home to a large ADF presence supported by a thriving defence industry, which is creating local jobs and investment.
“The Nowra region is home to two important ADF bases - HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell - and hundreds of Defence personnel and their families,” Mrs Sudmalis said.
“Air Affairs Australia is a great example of a Nowra business that is supporting the ADF to deliver the best capability from right here in our back yard while also competing and winning work on the world stage.
“Air Affairs is already exporting their equipment across Asia, from Thailand to South Korea, while also looking to enter new export markets.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.