House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Questions without Notice

Defence White Paper

2:34 pm

Photo of Matt WilliamsMatt Williams (Hindmarsh, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister advise the House of the vital role of Australia's defence industries in the government's economic plan for jobs and growth and our responsibility for Australia's national security?

2:35 pm

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question. The honourable member knows very well how the defence industry contributes to local economies, including particularly in his electorate of Hindmarsh in South Australia. Our plan for the defence industry is a key element in my government's national economic plan to support the transition to a strong, new 21st century economy that is more diversified and more technologically advanced, taking advantage of the enormous opportunity of these exciting times in which we live. Our industry policy statement, in our defence white paper, secures an advanced defence manufacturing industry and new high-tech, higher paying jobs for our children and grandchildren for decades to come.

The defence industry plan ensures that so far as is possible all our defence dollars are spent here in Australia, to support local economies, especially in regional Australia. Creating these new high-tech, higher paying jobs is central to our innovation and science agenda as we transition to the opportunities of the 21st century economy. The defence industry plan includes the new fleet of submarines, creating 2,800 jobs, and all of the enormous spin-off benefits for Australian industry; a continuous shipbuilding program, creating 2,500 direct and thousands more indirect jobs; and upgrades to bases and airfields and new investment in innovation and technology across our defence industries.

We secure Australia's future by ensuring that our defence forces have the physical capabilities they need—the ships, the planes and all of the equipment they need—but we also secure it by ensuring that we have an Australian defence industry with continuous commitment and is able to plan and put in place the measures that will ensure that the expertise will grow and grow and the spinoff benefits will grow and the jobs will grow, as they do in other countries that have been committed to their defence industry. It was neglected for six years by the Labor Party—not one vessel commissioned from an Australian yard—and now that responsibility is taken up by our government. Right across the industrial supply chain, right across Australia, we will see enormous opportunities; opportunities for children too as they grow up. One man in Adelaide observed that he had a little boy who was very good at maths and science, but he felt he would not be able to get a job in South Australia. Now that he saw the commitment to technology in Adelaide, he knows that little boy's future is secure.