House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry

2:39 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister update the House on how the government is helping workers and ensuring the future of our defence industry by getting on with the job of signing contracts? And is the minister aware of any alternatives to creating jobs and growth in defence industries?

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Leader of the House) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Forde for his question. Last week the government signed the contract with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to build the 211 combat reconnaissance vehicles in Queensland at a cost of $5.2 billion, building our national security, arming our Australian Defence Force. I would like to table a photograph of me, the Minister for Defence and the Prime Minister signing the contract. I will put that on Hansard. The Labor Party would never have seen one of those photographs and they might like to go into the records and have a look at what it is like to sign a contract to actually build something in Australia, using taxpayers' dollars, and growing jobs, investment and infrastructure.

The Labor Party never did that. In their six years in government they reduced spending on defence to 1.56 per cent of GDP, the lowest since 1938. So those people on that side of the House who have some passing interest in national security, when they get time, might like to come and have a look at what it looks like to sign a contract that creates jobs in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and around the country—$5.2 billion in the acquisition phase and 55 per cent of that is Australian industry content. When that tender began, it was five per cent. Because of the decisions of this government, it is 55 per cent—and $10 billion more in sustainment and maintenance over the life of type of the project and 70 per cent of that is Australian industry content.

So we are growing the defence industry in this country. We are signing the contracts. We are ensuring that companies like Haulmark Trailers will get that work. Haulmark Trailers will build 800 trailers in Brisbane as part of the trucks, trailers and modules contract that was announced recently. And I see that Jeff Phillips, from Varley, is here. Varley will build a number of the modules for that particular project. And Jeff Phillips is here with Yoav Har-Even, the president of Rafael in Israel. Today Varley and Rafael signed a joint venture to create a new company in Australia called Varley Rafael Australia to build the Spike missile here in this country for the combat reconnaissance vehicles.

So, as you can see, we are building, throughout the economy, the jobs, the investment and the infrastructure. We are working with companies from Israel and Germany who are doing joint ventures with Australian companies. All of that, under the Labor Party, would have been sent overseas. Because of the decisions of this government, driving policy, we are making a difference to jobs and our economy in this country.