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Defence, Manufacturing

Media Release: A Historic Partnership Signed between AUKUS Forum and Banana Shire Council – Unlocking Opportunities for Local Industries

AUKUS Forum | Banana Shire Council 3 mins read
Mayor Nev Ferrier, Mayor of Banana Shire Council and Michael Sharpe, Founding Director AUKUS Forum at the contract signing on Wednesday.

In a historic move, Banana Shire Council and AUKUS Forum have signed a landmark partnership, marking the first-ever membership agreement between a Local Government body and AUKUS Forum.

The collaboration is set to spotlight Queensland's regional manufacturing and industrial capabilities on the global stage, reaching AUKUS partners across the country, in the United States and United Kingdom, to drive innovation, investment, and economic growth in the region.

The contract signing on Wednesday signifies a groundbreaking commitment, with Banana Shire Council’s Mayor, Cr Nev Ferrier emphasising the substantial benefits this partnership holds, including job creation, investment attraction, economic growth and diversification.

“We are at the beginning of a new chapter of innovation and economic growth for our community and the Banana Shire is well placed to make the most out of this new partnership.  Local small, medium and large industries within the Shire are set to benefit from this partnership with the aim of attracting investment and creating more skilled jobs within our region.”

“This shows our dedication to being the Shire of Opportunity, and AUKUS Forum is the ideal partner to help us reach our full potential,” Mayor Ferrier said. 

AUKUS Forum founder, Michael Sharpe, commended the Council's initiative, saying it aligned seamlessly with the Forum's mission to leverage the AUKUS agreement and the opportunities it brings.

“Banana Shire's vision mirrors our mission: harnessing AUKUS to benefit all Australians, especially in rural and regional areas,” Mr Sharpe said.

“This partnership will facilitate regional companies, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in tapping into adjacent markets and empower local businesses by connecting them with international players hungry for Australian collaboration.

“Local SMEs across manufacturing, engineering, mining, defence and more will gain direct access to our AUKUS partners and members across Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

“We’ve seen firsthand how this collaboration and knowledge sharing can open doors to lucrative contracts, technology knowledge transfer, and open burgeoning new markets.”

Banana Shire Council's decision to partner with AUKUS Forum stems from a strategic agenda to attract contracts, diversify into the defence space, and position the region as a first mover in this exclusive collaboration. The Council's foresight in choosing AUKUS Forum as the ideal partner underscores its commitment to fostering economic growth and innovation.

As part of this collaboration, an upcoming event in the region alongside Banana Shire Council is scheduled in July 2024, which aims to foster connection and collaboration across industries and provide a platform for local businesses to explore new opportunities.

Former Australian Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and Former Australian Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos, Co-Chairs of AUKUS Forum, expressed their support for the partnership, saying Banana Shire Council was taking a forward-thinking approach.

"Rural and regional communities often hold untapped talent eager to contribute. This agreement will put Banana Shire businesses in direct contact with major national and international companies seeking Australian industry partners, ensuring the benefits of AUKUS flow to all regions, not just capital cities," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Mr Sinodinos congratulated Banana Shire Council for paving the way to fuel regional innovation and growth.

“This collaboration represents a significant step in bringing cutting-edge defence and technology projects to regional Queensland,” Mr Sinodinos said.

Key Facts:

Photos and video from the contract signing here

About us:

About Banana Shire Council
Banana Shire is situated in Central Queensland between Gladstone and Rockhampton. Banana Shire Council is focused on economic growth and infrastructure development and is committed to nurturing a thriving, sustainable community. This partnership with the AUKUS Forum underscores the Council's dedication to ensuring a prosperous and thriving future for the local community.

About AUKUS Forum
The AUKUS Forum is an independent platform dedicated to unlocking the transformative potential of the historic AUKUS agreement. Our mission is to foster an environment that encourages insightful dialogue, robust collaboration, and cutting-edge innovation among industry, academics, researchers, and government.

At the core of our vision lies the belief that the AUKUS agreement will usher in a new era of prosperity, generating job opportunities and fuelling economic growth. The AUKUS Forum is committed to exploring the strategic, technological, and industrial dimensions of AUKUS to uncover and leverage the myriad opportunities it presents. Visit to join the conversation

Contact details:

John MacGregor

Banana Shire Council


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