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Downer’s defence consulting business – Downer Defence Systems (DDS) – works with the Department of Defence to assist them with some of the most complex projects and programs in the nation. DDS is the ‘Downer’ in the Team Downer consortium, with the name of the MSP reflecting the greater financial and resource stake that Downer has in the joint venture.

The DDS business has recently been promoting Downer’s credentials as the heir to an 80-year legacy of supporting Defence; tracing Downer’s roots with Defence back to 1941 when its antecedent companies Walkers Limited and Evans Deakin Industries were among those that constructed the Bathurst Class corvettes for the Royal Australian Navy.

Pictured: HMAS Bowen was a Bathurst class ship constructed by Walkers Limited in 1942.

Earlier this year DDS' Executive General Manager Andrew Foster – who is also the Chair of the Team Downer Governance Board – delivered a speech at a major defence industry conference: the Australian Defence Magazine Congress – where Downer was a gold sponsor.  In his address to the assembled Commonwealth and industry attendees he outlined Downer's historic contribution to defence in the context of Australian Industry Capability and sovereign capability: two important concepts in the defence industry. The former refers to the policy settings that the government has put in place to encourage the growth of Australian industry, and the latter refers to Australian-owned companies creating, manufacturing, or otherwise providing people, products, and services to support Australian defence projects in contrast to overseas companies using Australian subsidiaries as retail shopfronts while sending the profits offshore.  

‘For the past 80 years Downer has worked with Defence to build ships, upgrade systems, and provide a highly skilled workforce to complement the public sector and uniformed workforce. Our hope is that the next 80 years will see more of the same, for although the platforms and capability will change, our commitment and expertise will never waver,’ Foster said.

‘Downer originates from small-to-medium enterprises. We understand SMEs, we value them, and actively seek opportunities to work with them, to mentor and develop them.’

‘This is especially true in the Team Downer Major Service Provider consortium that Downer leads; the MSP works with the SME community – more than 100 of them – to strategically place them in complex Defence projects to assist CASG to meet their significant acquisition and sustainment agenda,’ Foster said.

Pictured: DDS EGM Andrew Foster addresses the ADM 2021 Congress defence conference.

‘Team Downer draws on the legacy, experience and understanding of the broader Downer Group’s work with Defence over the past 80 years to deliver an innovative approach to strategically managing program and project delivery at Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group,’ said Team Downer’s General Manager, Chris Lovejoy.

‘The MSP may have only been around since 2018, but by working with the rest of Downer we are able to reach back into generations of hard-earned knowledge in the defence domain, while we also take our own place in that story and weave our own 21st century know-how into that same fabric.’