Are we leveraging our marine manufacturing capabilities as the basis for new industries?
Could we attract talent and grow more scalable startups to advance manufacturing?
Western Australia has a $15 billion cluster of excellence in marine manufacturing and technology development. It’s the result of significant investment and the focus of many strategies. However, there’s limited evidence of this civil, defence and industrial capability translating into scaleable technology startup companies.
Austal has indicated its desire to transform into a technology company, and there are multiple smaller companies working on physical and digital technologies. However, this is mostly disconnected from the attention, talent and funding of the broader WA technology startup ecosystem.
WA has world-class marine-focused manufacturing facilities and capability, and a reputation for innovation and quality.
Synergies with other sectors and specific facilities create the ideal conditions for further innovation in advanced manufacturing.
Naval facilities and equipment for offshore subsea maintenance drive innovation.
Shipbuilding, operations, inspection, repair and maintenance companies and increasingly involved in software and are becoming ‘technology’ companies.
Other sectors such as resources, agriculture, medicine, finance and social enterprises all have dedicated support for startups: hubs, accelerators, talent attraction and education programs, much of this backed by government and industry investment.
Recently, West Tech Fest and Rotto Tech Fest have started to draw attention and talent to the opportunities. WA could move quickly to establish the support base for startups, and advance beyond manufacturing.