House debates

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Questions without Notice

Defence Equipment

3:02 pm

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Can the minister confirm the government has spent $3.8 billion on defence helicopters with doors too narrow for the troops to fire guns and rope out the door at the same time? Why has the government spent billions of dollars on helicopters that are not fit for combat?

Photo of Melissa PriceMelissa Price (Durack, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the opposition defence spokesperson. The MRH-90 helicopter referred to by the member opposite does meet Defence objectives, and it's no secret that this helicopter has had some technical challenges in its time. The member opposite may like to know that both Minister Reynolds and I have been working very closely both with industry and with the department to make sure that we do overcome these challenges and to make sure that we have the capability that our men and women in uniform deserve. Let me be clear: we know this is an incredible capability for our Defence Force.

I'd like to take a moment to quote General Angus Campbell from Senate estimates yesterday. He said, 'This is an extraordinarily advanced helicopter which can do things that no other helicopter on the planet can do.' We on this side are very proud of our $270 billion investment in our defence capability. They are world-class and technically advanced. Every now and then we experience challenges, but we on this side are committed, and we're up to the job. We're committed to our men and women in uniform and we're committed to our capability, and the Australian public know that we on this side can be trusted to make sure that our defence has the capability that it deserves.