$100b of defence splurge in state’s sights

QUEENSLAND is in a prime position to secure a slice of up to $100 billion in work to for its burgeoning defence manufacturing industry, as part of Australia's historic pivot to beef up its military stance.

Jobs would be spread from Cairns to the Coast, with advance land vehicles manufacturing, autonomous vehicles and drones, as well as shipbuilding and maintenance as well as munitions all to receive a boost.

There will be a strong push from Australian defence industries companies to ensure as many of the new acquisitions are built and maintained at home, not only to boost jobs but ensure sovereignty and national security.

 

The Australian Army’s first Boxer vehicle at Enoggera Barracks, Brisbane. Part of the $5 billion The LAND 400 phase two program in Queensland, which will play into the $270 billion defence spend over the next decade. Picture: Supplied
The Australian Army’s first Boxer vehicle at Enoggera Barracks, Brisbane. Part of the $5 billion The LAND 400 phase two program in Queensland, which will play into the $270 billion defence spend over the next decade. Picture: Supplied

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $270 billion in defence spending over the next decade, as Australia seeks to beef-up its military presence and deterrence while China becomes increasingly assertive in the Indo-Pacific, and Queensland will get a share.

It includes $3 billion has been set aside for barracks upgrades, including Gallipoli at Enoggera, Swartz at Oakey, Borneo at Cabarlah and Lavarack at Townsville, as well as RAAF bases at Amberley, Townsville, Scherger, upgrading the HMAS Cairns and the Shoalwater Bay training area.

Local suppliers, contractors and tradies will be able to compete to secure the work.

Queensland's Land 400 contract and Rheinmetall's Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank has the state well placed to secure almost $50 billion in contracts in land defence forces.

Queensland-based NIOA is also working to secure the $2 billion Land 159 weapon system's upgrade.

Other opportunities exist, like the $27 billion KC-30A refuelling plane replacements, but some will require state and federal governments to actively pursue companies to relocate their manufacturing.

Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said the LNP voting bloc, dubbed Team Queensland, would actively start positioning to ensure the state secured key opportunities from the $270 billion defence spend.

"We don't secure major deals by sitting around passively hoping the wind blows in our direction," he said.

"There's a sweet spot where Australia's national interest and Queensland's capabilities overlap, and this is where we really need to focus."

The KC-30As are based at Amberley RAAF base and Qantas Defence Services previously played a role in converting the planes for use, much of the work now is done in Spain.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Australian Defence Force Academy on Wednesday to announce $270 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to upgrade Australia’s military capability. Picture: Adam Taylor/PMO
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Australian Defence Force Academy on Wednesday to announce $270 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to upgrade Australia’s military capability. Picture: Adam Taylor/PMO

As well as the $5 billion Land 400 phase-two contract, the Boxer CRVs, Rheinmetall is one of two final bidders for the $27 billion Infantry Fighting Vehicle Contract, with the first of its Lynx vehicles expected by the end of year followed by 12 months of testing.

Heavy truck contracts worth $2 billion and the $11 billion future autonomous vehicle are also potential wins for the state, the Rheinmetall, QUT and CSIRO all working towards.

Defence Industries Minister Melissa Price Queensland was a "growing powerhouse in defence industries".

"Queensland businesses are partnering with Defence on cutting-edge space technologies and making parts for the stunning F-35 strike fighter," she said.

"It's also the home for critical maintenance of our Armidale-class patrol boats which are used to keep our borders secure."

A NIOA spokesman welcomed the Government's commitment to defence and developing the local defence industry.

"This leads to more jobs for Australians and more certainty for our national interests," he said.

 

Originally published as $100b of defence splurge in state's sights