Coast businesses target $200b military spend
COAST businessman David Baird's military venture is starting to pay off and he is keen to share tips on how he made it happen.
His Caloundra business has sold its first two unmanned ground vehicles to the Australian Army and he is in supply talks with at least three other countries.
They were built entirely at his Praesidium Global workshop and will be delivered next month.
He has been invited to speak with Coast business owners keen to cash in on the Federal Government's planned $200 billion defence spend over the coming decade.
"Defence is spending a lot of money to develop its sovereign capability," Mr Baird said.
"It's not giving that money away but it is trying to entice and encourage people to look at what they are doing (and) approach defence in the first instance.
"They will work with them to see if they can put their equipment in there."
He said he would highlight the opportunities that were available to Coast businesses in defence industries.
"We've seen a big change with defence, how they are now dealing with smaller businesses like ourselves," he said.
"Previously they would only deal directly with the major primes (companies)."
His initial goal when he launched his company in June last year was to develop methods of managing and nullifying improvised explosive devices.
But he has since changed focus to his unmanned ground vehicles, which can be operated remotely by satellite far from battlefields.
"Defence has become more like every other employer," he said.
"They have to take steps to reduce exposure to danger."
The vehicles can carry gear, injured troops, communications equipment and weapons.
Mr Baird has built one that holds a 30mm cannon.
He said that one was on its way home from the Defence and Security Equipment International trade show in London.
Less than half a per cent of components in the vehicles were imported, with 42% of them made on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Baird said he had been in talks with the United Arab Emirates military, was due to meet with French Government representatives and had also made business contacts in Egypt.
"It (the business) is starting to move," he said.
Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace has organised Tuesday's forum at the University of the Sunshine Coast in light of the government's defence spend.
"I want to see some of it spent in Queensland and I want to see some of it spent in Fisher," Mr Wallace said.
He said four Coast organisations had recently won defence contracts.
"Tuesday is a workshop for people thinking they would like to get into the defence industry and matching them with a mentor from companies who have already done it."
For more information or to register call Mr Wallace's office on 5493 5556.