House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry

2:42 pm

Photo of Vince ConnellyVince Connelly (Stirling, 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 our defence industry is supporting Australian jobs and ensuring a strong Australia 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 Stirling for his question and acknowledge and thank him for his outstanding service to our Australian Defence Force. I also thank the thousands of men and women just like him who have also put on the uniform to keep Australians safe.

The Morrison government's $270 billion investment in defence capability is supporting thousands of Australian jobs right across the country, in the city and, more importantly for me personally, in the regions as well. Because of the actions we took in 2020 our defence industry is stronger than ever. Not only are we surviving but we are thriving, and we should all be immensely proud of that.

Today our government announced that we will build a new fleet of military vehicles. These vehicles can travel on land and water. This is under the new $800 million upgrade to Army's amphibious vessels. It's replacing the vessels we used in the Vietnam War, so it's quite historic. This project, like all defence industry projects, means more jobs for Australians and more opportunities for Australian businesses to help deliver the capabilities for our Defence Force.

Also today I, together with the member for Herbert, very proudly announced that Townsville is set to be the home of a new military combat training centre. The centre will train soldiers in driving, gunnery and tactics of operating our current and future armoured fighting vehicles. Today we announced that we are going to invest $30 million to build this centre, which is the first phase. Construction is to start this month, and the project will be completed mid-2022. North Queensland businesses, together with subbies, will be able to help the managing contractor, St Hilliers, to deliver this job, supporting some 110 jobs. Ninety-eight per cent of the work on this project will be sourced locally. As you can imagine, that is music to the ears of the local Townsville tradies. This is just another great example of the Morrison government backing Australian jobs and regional businesses to help deliver essential capability for the Australian Defence Force.

To make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep Australians in jobs, especially during this COVID time, our government has, since March last year, fast-tracked $21 billion worth of invoices to defence suppliers. This has been extremely welcomed by the defence suppliers, who have told us categorically that this has kept Australians in work, not only in the cities but in regional Australia. Mr Speaker, I think you can see that we're not slowing down. We're getting on with the job. We're supporting jobs and defence industry in the bush and in the city. (Time expired)

Mr Gosling interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Solomon will leave under 94(a). Member for Solomon, just before you leave, this is the second occasion upon which you've been asked to leave under 94(a) for interjecting, and you've interjected again as you were leaving the chamber. That normally would result in a naming offence. The member for Solomon is on very thin ice. The member for Solomon will leave the chamber and will not behave in that way again or he will be named and, if that motion is carried, he will be ejected for 24 hours and, as far as his colleagues are concerned, will have wasted about 10 minutes of question time. The member for Solomon will leave immediately.

The member for Solomon then left the chamber.