Former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Hunter Defence Conference Gala Dinner in August.

One of the Government’s most senior and experienced ministers, Mr Pyne served for 26 years in the Federal House of Representatives prior to his retirement earlier this year. He held the portfolios of Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for Defence during the largest build-up of Australia’s military capability in its peacetime history.

Hunter Defence Taskforce Chair Tim Owen said securing Mr Pyne as the Gala Dinner Speaker was a major boost for the annual conference, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

“Christopher will be a real drawcard for the conference. He is a wonderful speaker with excellent insight into the workings of government, the Australian Defence Force and the national and global defence industries,” Mr Owen said.

Mr Owen said the conference would have a strong focus on defence industry participation by SMEs, a priority also articulated this week by the new Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price. Presentations will centre on driving collaboration between Defence Primes, regional SMEs, academia and the Department of Defence.

Key presentations at the conference will include capability development staff from Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters. Defence Primes will outline their support requirements for the next decade and there will be a Defence Industry Showcase on the afternoon of 22 August.

The 10th Anniversary Hunter Defence Conference will be held on 22 – 23 August 2019 at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Early bird bookings are available until Friday 5 July. To book, visit www.hunterdefence.org.au.

For more information about the conference and sponsorship opportunities, contact Tim Owen (0477 201 000) or Merran Wiggins (0414 599 636).