Senator The Hon David Fawcett, Chair, Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
David served in the Australian Defence Force for over 22 years. An Army pilot, he flew helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and was the Senior Flying Instructor at the School of Army Aviation in Queensland.
Hon Melissa Price, Minister for Defence Industry
Graduating as an experimental test pilot from the Empire Test Pilots’ School (UK), he finished his full time career in Defence as the Commanding Officer of the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit.
Elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Wakefield (SA) in 2004, he served in the Parliament until 2007. David continued to fly as a test pilot and ran a small business working in the Defence and Aviation sectors prior to being elected to the Senate in 2010, 2016 and again in 2019. In the 45th Parliament, David was sworn as the Assistant Minister for Defence. David is currently the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Chair of the Senate Standing Legislation Committee on Environment and Communications, and member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Melissa was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Durack, the largest electorate in Australia covering more than 1.6 million square kilometres, in 2013. Born and raised in the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie, she relished the opportunity to represent the diverse interests of a rural electorate. Following the 2016 federal election, she was appointed to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in September 2016.
Jim McDowell, Group Chief Executive Officer Nova Systems
Melissa’s engagement in progressing defence outcomes continued through her work on the Coalition Defence Policy Committee and the Defence Sub-Committee. In December 2017, she was elevated to the role of Assistant Minister for the Environment and continued in this role until August 2018, when she was sworn in as Minister for the Environment in the Morrison Government. With the Coalition returned to government at the 2019 Federal election, Melissa was sworn in as Minister for Defence Industry in May 2019 and elevated to Cabinet on the 30 March 2021.
A lawyer by profession before beginning her career as a politician, Melissa has more than 20 years' experience in the private sector, working in a variety of commercial and legal roles. Maintaining her connection to rural Australia through stints in regionally focused industries, Melissa also spent time working with the not-for-profit sector. She is a former Director of both the Cancer Council (WA) and BrightSpark Foundation, and a passionate supporter of child health and cancer research. Melissa is also a proud 16-year member of the Fremantle Football Club.
Jim has 30 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors. Most recently, Jim was South Australia’s top public servant in the role of Chief Executive for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
Craig Lockhart, Managing Director BAE Systems Maritime
Prior to that he was the CEO of BAE Systems Australia and oversaw the purchase of Tenix Defence. Under his leadership, the company expanded to become Australia's largest defence prime, with more than 6,500 employees and annual sales of approximately AUD $1.7 billion. He then moved to Saudi Arabia where he took up the role of in-country CEO for the $6 billion business.
Jim also worked in legal, commercial and marketing roles with aerospace company Bombardier Shorts for 18 years after graduating from the University of Warwick (England).
Craig is a defence leader with more than 30 years of industry experience including leadership positions within the surface ship, submarine, and civil nuclear power sectors. Craig spent most of his career working with Babcock International Group holding many director roles and ultimately as Managing Director of Naval Marine in the UK, leading a team of more than 6,500 people across two naval dockyards, two naval bases, two shipbuild yards and various technology and engineering centres. His experience also extends to Australia, where he was previously the CEO of Babcock Operation’s Pacific Region, based in Adelaide. During his tenure in this role, Craig delivered significant growth and transformation to the business. Craig has held many business positions serving on the Scottish Engineering Council and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and was an avid campaigner for the development of STEM across his industry grouping.
Prof Giselle Rampersad, Professor in Innovation - College of Science & Engineering
In his current role as Managing Director, BAE Systems Maritime Australia, Craig is responsible for leading the team that will deliver nine Hunter class frigates to the Royal Australian Navy and oversee the provision of shipbuilding capability to the Air Warfare Destroyer and Offshore Patrol Vessel programs.
The Hunter Class Frigate Program is the largest surface ship build project in Australian defence history, and is a significant first step in building world-class sovereign shipbuilding capability in Australia. Craig is responsible for BAE Systems contribution to the Australian Government’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy through the transfer of technology and knowledge from the United Kingdom to Australia, maximising Australian Industry Capability and developing the shipbuilding workforce for generations to come.
Craig is a Mechanical engineer and holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA). During his previous term in South Australia he established a comprehensive business network across Australia which is still actively used to its full capacity in supporting the objectives of BAE Systems Australia and Defence.
Craig joined BAE Systems Australia in May 2019.
Professor Giselle Rampersad is a Professor in Innovation, in the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University. She is the Program Director for the multi-award-winning Diploma of Digital Technologies which upskills employees from BAE Systems Australia, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the defence supply chain and STEM teachers. Under her leadership, it won the Training and Mentorship Program of the Year for 2020 in the Australian Defence Industry Awards by Defence Connect. It also won the Industry Collaboration Award in 2021 at the South Australian Training Awards by the Department of Innovation and Skills/ SA Skills Commission, for the collaboration between Flinders University, BAE Systems Australia and TAFE SA.
Jamie Briggs, Managing Partner - Adelaide, PwC Australia
This year, the program has reached 50% participation by women. Professor Rampersad also leads industry 4.0 research with Naval Group Pacific, on exoskeletons and machining robots, as well as research with the Australian Department of Defence and Supashock on digital twins. She has a PhD in Innovation and Technology Management from the University of Adelaide (Australia) and a Masters in Internet Systems and e-Business from Durham University (United Kingdom). At the national level, she has been named ‘Australian Academic of the Year for 2021’ Finalist in the Australian Defence Industry Awards by Defence Connect, with the award ceremony being held in December 2021.
As the former Federal Minister for Cities and the Built Environment and the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Jamie is extensively connected amongst the senior executive and Cabinets of both state and federal governments. He is known for his deep political acumen and vast knowledge of the political environment through each department. Prior to entering Parliament he was a Senior Advisor to the then Prime Minister the Hon. John Howard from 2004-2007 advising on workplace relations reform.
Jamie was instrumental in developing PwC's approach to cities with the development of the 'CityPulse' concept. He has been working very closely with significant private sector clients to develop solutions to important problems by providing a deep understanding of government and its processes driven from extensive and unique experience in the government sector.
Jamie has completed his MBA at the University of Adelaide and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.