A Better Work Start: Critical Supply Chains Roundtable

Join us for our next event within the ECP Post Covid-19 Restart initiative, which will be led by Prof. Ivan Cole and Prof. Anne-Laure Mention. We have asked some of RMIT's key partners across large industry, SME’s and innovative high technology companies to provide their valuable input. Don't miss out!

In the early stages of the Covid-19 Pandemic, as we become increasingly isolated from the rest of the world, we could not quickly obtain the PPE and medical equipment necessary for our hospitals and to protect our community. Further, many consumer items were in short supply. This has led to a debate on whether we need to establish complete and autonomous supply chains in Australia for critical items. In short, should we re-establish a sovereign capability in manufacturing?

However, Australia globalised its economy between 1983 to the present to capture the efficiencies in globalisation and to focus on area and parts of the supply chain where Australia is most effective. How can we balance these two perspectives?

Additionally, if we are to re-establish a sovereign capability, what areas should we focus on, what are the critical issues and holes in our supply chain that must be addressed? How can advanced technology and the university sector contribute to these critical issues?

Discussion topics 

  1. Should we establish sovereign capabilities and in what areas?
  2. Should they be permanent or “agile”?
  3. Will this have negative effects on the efficiency of our economy and the practical questions?
  4. What is required to establish such a capability?
  5. Where are the issues and where are the critical holes in our capability?

We hope this discussion will initiate cross-disciplinary analysis of the critical issues involved.

This will lead to a Briefing and a White paper to contribute to the societal debate and to define critical areas in RMIT and its partners to contribute.


  • Ms Pamela Kellert - Head of Strategy, Partnering and Communications, Major Projects - Downer
  • Mr Neil Wilson - Chairman, Romar Engineering
  • Dr Erol Harvey - Head Strategy and Translation, Bionics Institute


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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.