Monday, 15 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's record investment in Australia's defence industry is helping to create jobs and ensure a stronger Australia as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 recession?
I thank the member for Robertson for her question and I thank her for and acknowledge her great support for the defence industries in New South Wales and more broadly across Australia. The Morrison government is investing $270 billion in our defence capability, and our record investment is helping us to drive our economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. Our investment is creating and supporting thousands of Australian jobs right across our great land. Just last week I had the great pleasure, together with the Prime Minister and some of our other colleagues, of visiting the Hunter region, where we announced that our first F-35 aircraft had been inducted into BAE Systems Australia's maintenance depot. This is part of the next milestone of the F-35 program, and indeed it was a very exciting and uplifting day. This depot will be a regional maintenance, sustainment and upgrade hub for the F-35 aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region. Hundreds of F-35 aircraft will flow through the doors of BAE in Newcastle in the decades ahead.
This investment, and this new maintenance hub, is all about protecting and securing Australia's interests, but it is much more than that. It's also about creating generations of jobs and driving investment in the Hunter region and across this wide brown land. This induction demonstrates to the world the leading capability of our local defence industry in Australia, and, let me tell you, it is something that we all should be incredibly proud of. I think the Prime Minister said it best the other day, when he said, 'Everyone involved with the F-35 program is a top gun.' Our government wants to give as many Australian companies opportunities in the F-35 program—
Ms Swanson interjecting—
The member for Paterson will leave under standing order 94(a). The minister will pause.
The member for Paterson left the chamber.
Opposition members: Come on!
It's a great pleasure to be able to talk about the companies that are already involved in the F-35 program, and there'll be more to come now that we have this Asia-Pacific regional hub. These are companies like Marand, in Melbourne, who are manufacturing the vertical tails; Queanbeyan based Lintek, who produce the circuit boards and are the only company in Australia to do so; and Brisbane based TAE Aerospace, who are maintaining the F-35 engines. It's a real feather in the cap for Brisbane based TAE Aerospace, as this is the first time that the work they're performing on the F-35 has been done outside the US. It's great news for them, and it's a great example of the Australian capability.