Premier, Coast MP fight for military contract

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has brought in the big guns in the Land 400 fight, seeking advice from former Hawke defence ­minister Kim Beazley.

The state is fighting against Victoria to win a multimillion-dollar war machine contract.

Victoria has called on its own former Labor minister, Greg Combet, to help its bid, so Ms Palaszczuk has sought guidance from Mr Beazley - known as Bomber Beazley in his days as one of the country's highest profile defence ministers.

"Kim Beazley is one of Australia's greatest defence ministers," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"He knows the importance of this contract to the ADF and to Queensland."

Land 400 is expected to be one of the Defence ­Department's biggest projects.

Under phase two, about 225 state-of-the-art combat reconnaissance vehicles will be built, costing taxpayers up to $5 billion, but providing local manufacturers with supply chain and maintenance work for about 30 years.

 

State of the art weapons of war that may soon be made in Queensland.
State of the art weapons of war that may soon be made in Queensland.


Kim Beazley was the federal defence minister in the Hawke Government. Picture: Kym Smith
About 150 of the armoured vehicles will be based in Queensland to support ­brigades in Townsville and Enoggera.

If Queensland wins phase two, it will probably also win the next phase - the building of 450 infantry fighting vehicles and 17 ­manoeuvre support vehicles, worth up to $15 billion.

Australian Industry and Defence Network Queensland president Carl Quarterman said that ­resources companies suffering since the end of the mining boom could easily adapt their businesses to service the global defence giants.

"Now that the mining sector's left for a lot of businesses, there's quite a lot of interest in the defence industry given the amount of spend at the moment," Mr Quarterman said.

 

Kim Beazley was the federal defence minister in the Hawke Government. Picture: Kym Smith
Kim Beazley was the federal defence minister in the Hawke Government. Picture: Kym Smith

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace, whose electorate takes in the southern Sunshine Coast and hinterland, has already started pushing for small and medium businesses to create a local defence industry hub.

"It seems to me that there is, to be crude, a bucketload of money that the Federal Government is going to be spending and I want to ensure that we get our fair share of it here in Fisher on the Sunshine Coast," he said.

Mr Wallace has organised two defence industry forums on the coast this year for local businesses and major defence contractors.

More than 150 businesses attended the first forum, which was also attended by Federal Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

"The defence industry is not just about bombs and bullets, it's about just about every field of human endeavour. Whether it be building, health, food or agriculture, there is a defence industry aspect to it," he said.

News Corp Australia


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