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We’re making the state’s defence industry the strongest and most capable in Australia.

To do this, we need a mix of leadership, expertise, experience and local insight to identify and help unlock opportunities for industry growth.

That’s why we’ve recruited three of Australia’s foremost defence leaders to advise the Queensland Government on growing the sector.

We’ve also established three expert advisory bodies: an overarching Minister’s Advisory Council on Defence Industry and Jobs, and two regionally focused boards for the north and south of the state.

These three bodies and our advisors provide strategic advice about defence industry development and investment attraction. They focus on delivering the Queensland Defence Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan and its three main strategies:

  • growing our defence industry capabilities
  • promoting our defence industry capabilities
  • increasing our defence industry contribution to the national and global markets.

Strategic Defence Advisors

With a wealth of combined military experience, our Strategic Defence Advisors bring to Queensland strong insights into the world of defence and industry. They provide high-level advice to the Queensland Government on identifying and attracting strategic project opportunities to our state. Queensland’s strategic defence advisors are:

Air Vice Marshal Neil Hart AM (Ret’d)Air Vice Marshal Neil Hart AM (Ret’d): Strategic Defence Advisor for Aerospace

Air Vice Marshal Neil Hart (retired) was appointed as Queensland Strategic Defence Advisor – Air in March 2018.

Neil is a former Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) fighter pilot with senior leadership, command and operations management and expertise in all aspects of air, space, information, cyber and electronic warfare. Senior appointments included Deputy Chief of Air Force, Director-General Capability Planning, Head Force Structure Review and Head ‘One Defence’ Implementation. Neil is a board member of the Australian Defence Force Airworthiness Board.

He is a Member in the Military Division of the Order of Australia.

Rear Admiral Simon Cullen AM CSC (Ret’d)Rear Admiral Simon Cullen AM CSC (Ret’d): Strategic Defence Advisor for Sea

Rear Admiral Simon Cullen (retired) was appointed as Queensland Strategic Defence Advisor – Sea in October 2017.

He served in the Royal Australian Navy for 38 years, with key appointments including Chief of Staff to Commander Joint Task Force 633 in Baghdad, Iraq, Deputy Commander of the Australian Fleet, Inaugural Director General Maritime Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command and Deputy Commander of the Combined Task Force for Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Simon is Vice Chairman of the Board for the Institute for Regional Security and active in a number of naval associations.

He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and United States Legion of Merit.

Major General Fergus (Gus) McLachlan AO (Ret'd)Major General Fergus (Gus) McLachlan AO (Ret'd): Strategic Defence Advisor for LAND 400

Fergus (Gus) McLachlan recently completed 37 years of service with the Australian Army. In his last appointment, he led Land Forces Command. With over 35,000 personnel, this is the largest command in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Gus was previously responsible for Army Modernisation and Joint Force Integration. He was involved in programs including the digitisation of the Army, the generation of the Army and ADF cyber capability, and the optimisation of the Army helicopter capability.

Gus also has extensive leadership experience. This includes operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the units and formations of the Army.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018 and appointed a Professor of Practice by Monash University in 2019.

Minister’s Advisory Council on Defence Industry and Jobs

The role of the Minister’s Council is to enhance the Queensland Government’s understanding of local-to-global defence industry needs, opportunities and challenges. The council members include Queensland’s three Strategic Defence Advisors and senior defence industry and organisational leaders. Together, they’re responsible for advising government on increasing strategic defence industry opportunities and capabilities in the state.

North and South Queensland boards

The regional advisory boards report to, and are overseen by, the Minister’s Council. They have been established by the government to explore regional defence industry and supply chain opportunities in greater detail.