House debates

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry

3:03 pm

Photo of Fiona MartinFiona Martin (Reid, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's investment in defence industry is supporting Australian jobs, Australian businesses and defence personnel as we come back from the COVID-19 recession?

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

I thank the member for Reid for her question. I especially thank the member for her support and passion for Australia's defence industry. She is an excellent example of the diversity and quality of the members of the Morrison government.

The Morrison government's $270 billion worth of defence capability is contributing significantly to the comeback from the COVID-19 recession. We are supporting Aussie jobs and Aussie businesses as we support our men and women in uniform so that they can defend our nation and keep us safe. This week I announced that the Morrison government will invest $220 million in Lendlease to upgrade works at the RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, supporting some 200 Australian jobs. In the last 12 months, Lendlease has employed more than 18 veterans across Australian on a variety of projects, through groups such as Veterans in Construction and Soldier On. Lendlease says that these veterans have skills and capabilities that are incredibly valued in the civilian workforce, and I congratulate Lendlease on their employment of veterans right across Australia. Whilst I am on my feet, I encourage our other industry partners to employ more veterans and those transitioning from the ADF, so that they can take advantage of their incredible and invaluable skill set.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Penten, which is a cybertechnology company based here in Canberra. Penten received a $520,000 grant to support the construction of a secure ICT facility. I'm very proud to say that, just last week, Penten was named the Cyber Business of the Year at the Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards—so very big congratulations to Penten. With the government's support, Penten has been able to grow during COVID and has just hired their 100th employee. Well done to Penten!

Our government continues to support Victorian jobs and businesses in the defence industry, and one of those businesses is Melbourne based company Anywise. Our government has invested in and backed Anywise to develop new technologies through our Defence Innovation Hub. They are developing a system capable of monitoring the health of Army's bridging equipment. Recently I was contacted by Adam Evans, who is the managing director of Anywise, and he said: 'Thank you for your ongoing support. For a Victorian SME, this contract makes all the difference between a dark or a light Christmas season this year. After our lockdown recently, this news could not be better timed.'

Our comeback from the COVID-19 recession is creating a stronger defence industry, making sure there are more Aussie jobs and making sure we are backing more Australian companies.