Senator David Van has called the Andrews Government’s lack of commitment to defence manufacturing industry ‘disappointing’.
“The budget only provided a funding commitment of $6 million dollars over the next four years,” Senator Van said.
“Federally, the Morrison Government has been prepared to do what is necessary to encourage investment and growth within Australia’s Defence industry,” Senator Van said. “We are committed to ensuring that we fund the best capability and the best investments.”
Not only does supporting the defence industry create direct jobs, it also provides significant flow on effects to Australian SME’s. Like the submarine build in South Australia, we are aiming to have 60-70 per cent of Australian content being used within Australian Defence manufacturing projects.
Across Australia, State and Territory Governments – of both political colours – have been partnering with defence companies to lobby for secure high skilled, high value investment projects, research and jobs for their jurisdictions.
Victoria currently has the opportunity to compete for the Australian Government’s $15 Billion LAND 400 Phase 3 project.
“To ensure we get projects built down here, Victoria has to show a stronger bid than that of Queensland’s,” said Senator Van. “The Labor Government in Queensland has gone to great lengths to ensure the sector up north is supported. They understood the opportunities available, partnered with Rheinmetall and now Queensland is delivering the Australian Government’s LAND 400 Phase 2 project.”
Without real investment from the Andrews Government, Victoria runs the risk of losing not only those jobs but also the opportunity to build a defence precinct in regional Victoria.
“With so many Victorians currently out of work, it is madness to think the Victorian Government wouldn’t make a substantial commitment to building our defence industry capabilities,” Senator Van said. “The great thing about defence industry jobs is that they provide long term reliable jobs at all levels, but particularly high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
Yesterday’s budget sets out that the $6 million for the industry will be spent on supporting Victoria’s defence industry and supply chains to secure roles in delivering major defence contracts through advocacy, advisory and capability development activities.
“While this is good in theory, only providing $6 million over four years makes it seem like all they have done is build a bigger bureaucracy, not create further job opportunities,” Senator Van said. “If Victoria is going to have any chance of remaining competitive with other states come future Defence industry opportunities, the Andrews Government needs to get serious, completely rethink its current strategy and increase its investment to attract high tech projects, opportunities and the benefits that long term defence projects bring,”