Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister update the House on the success of the Land Forces conference last week and the government's efforts to create a sovereign defence capability in Australia? How will this create jobs, drive growth in our economy and preserve our national security?
I thank the member for Canning for his question. I know about his deep interest in defence and defence industry. I was at the Land Forces conference last week in Adelaide, as was the member for Fadden, who was representing his state, which is a significant source of defence industry.
The Land Forces conference last week in Adelaide was by far the biggest they have ever held—13½ thousand participants, over 500 exhibitors and 23 different countries were represented. There were 11 different seminars and conventions held within the overall conference, including the Chief of Army's exercise, which attracted 22 different armies from around the world, who had come to see what we are doing here in defence and defence industry.
Right now there is a tremendous interest around the world in the government's program around defence industry, because we are committing $195 billion over the next 10 years to improve and increase our defence capability. That is $90 billion in naval shipbuilding alone—building 54 vessels. The record on this side of the House is: in three years we have committed to $90 billion of new spending on naval shipbuilding to build 54 vessels. On the other side of the House, not one decision in six years to build any vessels at all, and a reduction of spending on defence to the lowest levels since the period of appeasement by our government in 1938.
There is a great deal of interest in what we are doing here in defence industry. Another good example is the LAND 400 project, which is 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles. It is worth $4 billion to $5 billion. I am told by people in the industry it is the largest contract of its kind going in the world right now. The scale of what this government is trying to achieve is absolutely immense. What it will do is build in this country a defence industry capability that we have never had to this extent. It will drive jobs and drive growth.
In high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs—intellectual property here in Australia—businesses from all over the world are coming to Australia to try and be part of that absolute transformation of our defence industry and our defence capability. In the end, it will mean that we have stronger national security, that we can defend our national and our international interests and that we can be a proper ally and partner to our allies and partners around the world.