Hunter Defence is a collaborative task force focused on demonstrating the capability of established Hunter defence industry suppliers to government and primes, as well as upskilling local SMEs to become ‘Defence ready’

The Hunter already has strong expertise in advanced high-value, high-skills manufacturing and R&D,so there is great potential for locally based firms to diversify into defence or, for those who already established in the industry, to increase their market share.

Hunter Defence represents a diverse group of industry stakeholders in the region, including manufacturing and supply firms, industry networks, specialist consultants, a dvisors and government.

The group is chaired by Tim Owen, a former Air Force Commander and 32-year services veteran with significant expertise in the Australian Defence Force contracting process and experience working with defence primes.


Hunter Defence provides a strong and unified voice promoting Hunter Defence capability to the NSW and Australian Government. We aim to increase Hunter participation in the defence industry by harnessing the expertise, insight and connections within the group to identify opportunities for the region.

Winning Defence contracts is a competitive business that requires not only capability, but deep industry insight and high visibility with primes, defence stakeholders and government at all levels. Hunter Defence will seek to align local industry capabilities and capacities with coming opportunities and demonstrate the region’s supply chain capability.

We will also encourage more SMEs to acquire advanced defence capability by facilitating education, training and advice.

See an outline of our Strategy and Action Plan.

Tim Owen AM is a 32-year services veteran and former Deputy Commander of the Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a highly regarded defence industry consultant with significant expertise in the Australian Defence Force contracting process and experience working with defence primes.

Bede Boyle is Senior Advisor, Defence and Industry with McLean Management Consultants Pty Ltd and a champion of strategic collaboration to drive Defence industry growth.

Dusko Bajic is Manager – NSW Defence Industries and Regional Manager Northern NSW for the Industry Capability Network (ICN). He is an experienced management professional with significant experience in Defence, manufacturing and engineering.

Adrian Price is the Regional Manager, Hunter Central Coast and Northern for the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents the interest of more than 60,000 businesses nationally in sectors including Defence and manufacturing.

Alan Rankins joined the Royal Australian Navy at 15 and served for 21 years, working his way up to the role of Weapons Electronics Engineer. He has been involved as a project and program manager in major Defence projects including senior positions in the ANZAC, New Submarine, Minehunter, Hydrographic, FFG Upgrade and LHD programs.

Amy De Lore is the Policy and Public Affairs Manager for the Hunter Business Chamber and an experienced communications professional who has worked in government, the tertiary sector and journalism. The Chamber represents more than 2000 local businesses and has a strong focus on facilitating economic growth and diversification in the Hunter, including expansion of the Defence sector.

Boris Novak is an Industry Advisor at HunterNet. He has a Defence background, having worked in the Air Force in tactical communications-electronics and systems engineering, and was founder and Chair of Dexata (formerly C-E Solutions), a supplier of breakthrough analytic capabilities within the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) domain.

Fergus Black is a Business Sales Manager with TAFE NSW, focused on assisting businesses to prepare their workforce for the future. Whether it’s drone mapping skills for agribusiness or advanced manufacturing techniques for defence contractors, TAFE NSW is uniquely placed to skill the workforce of the future.

Kevin Chenney is a Senior Consultant with Goal Professional Services, specialising in Export Control/ITAR/EAR and responsible for compliance audits, reviews and training. Kevin is also active in providing Defence-readiness solutions to clients and business development for the organisation.

Michael Sharpe is the State Director NSW & ACT of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. AMGC supports the development of a world-leading advanced manufacturing industry in Australia. Their role is to help manufacturers unlock new commercial opportunities and drive innovation in Australian manufacturing.

Mike McLean FAICD, FIMC, JM, has consulted to Department of Defence, armed services, primes and manufacturing supply chains for over 30 years. He has conducted independent reviews and benchmarking for CASG and supply chain risk-based strategies in Australia and internationally. He sits on the Standards Australia Quality Committee and is a technical expert and convenor on ISO HQ Geneva task forces.

Paul Scobie is a Business Development Manager, focused on Defence, Advanced Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Transport, with Newcastle Innovation, the technology transfer and commercialisation arm of the University of Newcastle.

Tom Woods is the Managing Director of T.W. Woods Construction Pty Ltd, a family metal fabrication company established in 1966. He has positioned the business to be a leader in the region with unique manufacturing capabilities that enable T.W. Woods to complete work for Defence primes in shipbuilding, specialised steel plate processing and painting, including stealth camouflage.

Trevor John has worked in the Hunter for over 30 years and is RDA Hunter’s Executive Officer and Director of Regional Development. With funding from Australia’s Department of Defence since 2009, and the support of leaders in education and industry, RDA Hunter’s ME Program is increasing the size and capacity of the STEM skilled workforce in the Hunter to meet the needs of the region’s Defence Industry. In partnership with Defence NSW, RDA Hunter is helping deliver the State’s defence strategy through the internationally recognised multidisciplinary VET pipeline program, STEMship.


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