House debates

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry: Employment

2:51 pm

Photo of Gavin PearceGavin Pearce (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Australia's defence industry is a significant and important contributor to our economy. It helps create thousands of jobs across the country, including jobs for our veterans. Will the minister inform the House how sticking to the national plan will continue the Morrison government's efforts to support Australian jobs in defence industry?

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

Can I thank the member for Braddon for his question and acknowledge his service to the nation and also acknowledge what a terrific advocate he is for defence industry not only in Braddon but also across the whole of Tasmania.

Repeated lockdowns and border closures have placed massive challenges on businesses across Australia, including our defence industry businesses. Defence industry relies upon the movement across states and territories of essential equipment and supplies and also expert personnel to ensure that we build up our defence capabilities to keep Australians safe. Over the last 18 months, my priority has been to ensure that we've kept the wheels of defence industry turning.

From the latest data that we have, Defence's annual spend on capability has contributed more than $29 billion to the broader national economy. With our defence spending supporting over 100,000 jobs right across the country in multiple industries, it is not just the defence industry that gets this impact. It has flow-on effects by enabling businesses to grow and to be able to expand their services and also to employ more Australians.

The key to building on this success is the national plan announced by the Prime Minister and endorsed by the national cabinet. The national plan does provide that pathway, brighter times for businesses and families across the nation. It is a tremendous confidence booster for defence industry. It tells those thousands of companies, those small manufacturing companies across the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney, and also those giant naval operations in South Australia and Western Australia, that Australia is ready to go. Companies can now start to have hope for the future. They can now start to think about, 'Am I going to take on another couple of employees?' They are going to start to dust off that expansion plan. They are going start to think about, 'Shall I put my hand up for that next defence industry contract?'

At the heart of the national plan is our drive to accelerate and roll out our vaccinations right across the country. Honestly, we would all agree that Australians have been quite remarkable, rolling up their sleeves and just being determined to do their bit, and I say: well done to Australians. To Western Australians, I say: let's show a little bit more of that sandgroper competitive spirit, and please roll up your sleeves a little bit quicker. We're currently sitting at the bottom of the league ladder, and that is not good enough.

Today I released a terrific video highlighting the many great naval shipbuilding jobs that are available in Western Australia right now, which are made possible by our government's record investment in shipbuilding. The theme is Work Where You Live. I encourage anybody who's listening to please think about joining such an exciting industry, called our naval shipbuilding industry.