Albanese Government to secure leading edge defence capability

Release Date:
Media release

The Australian Government has entered into an agreement to acquire an ownership interest in Australian defence radar systems manufacturer, CEA Technologies Pty Limited. The deal to secure the leading-edge capability will ultimately create a new Government Business Enterprise (GBE).

For the past 40 years, CEA has developed world-leading radar systems that enable a range of critical Defence Force capabilities both in Australia and overseas.

Today’s agreement advances the important and longstanding partnership between the Commonwealth and CEA, ensuring the continued development of Australia’s radar capability in an increasingly complex strategic environment.

The agreement secures the long-term ownership arrangements of CEA which will:

  • Allow the company to continue on its path to grow and develop the suite of products and services it provides with an acute focus on sovereign defence capability;
  • Preserve the culture of innovation to pursue commercial opportunities and further develop the technology, whilst maintaining a strong focus on national security; and
  • Give the existing staff and investors in CEA certainty and clarity about the future.

From July 2023, the Commonwealth will hold a non-controlling shareholding in CEA for 18 months. After that time CEA will be majority owned by the Commonwealth and become a GBE.

CEA will continue to operate as an independent for-profit company at arms-length from Government.

The Australian Government recognises the 600 strong workforce at CEA and their cutting edge approach to designing and delivering essential defence capabilities that will only be further strengthened through sovereign ownership.

CEA designs and delivers systems to the Defence Force that are essential, and this investment is testament to all that has been achieved by the workforce over the past 40 years.

This decision has no impact on procurement decisions by the Department of Defence. It is expected that as a GBE, CEA will continue to participate in the defence industry and pursue commercial, including export, opportunities.

The Minister for Defence and Minister for Finance will be joint shareholder ministers with responsibility for overseeing the Commonwealth’s investment in CEA.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“Today’s landmark agreement secures the longevity of this Australian company and guarantees supply of critical radar systems for the ADF, now and into the future.

The approach the Commonwealth has taken, in partnership with existing shareholders, will ensure CEA is on the path to grow and develop over the long term, in order to meet the ongoing needs of Australia and its international partners.”  

Quotes attributable to Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher:

“The Commonwealth’s staged investment in CEA, a longstanding and valued partner, strikes an appropriate balance between maintaining the capabilities and operational independence of CEA as a standalone company, and keeping Australians safe while achieving value for the taxpayer.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:

“CEA is an Australian manufacturing powerhouse, with world leading know how and decades of industry experience that has led to the design and development of cutting edge radar systems.

CEA provides critical capabilities for a number of our major naval surface combatants, amongst other projects, and plays a vital role in our national security.

The phased array radar capabilities within CEA are a critical sovereign capability and today’s agreement protects the incredible capability of the CEA workforce and their unmatched ability in the field of radar technologies.”