House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Statements by Members

Bendigo Electorate: Defence Equipment

1:52 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Those who have been in this House a long time would know that I am a big fan of the Bushmaster, built in Bendigo. We are very proud that we manufacture the Bushmaster—and we're not the only ones. It's a great vehicle for the Australian Army. It's credited with saving over 300 Australian troops' lives in the Afghan and Iraq conflicts. It's also what the Ukrainian president asked for in his address to this parliament; one of the only words of English we all remember was when he said 'Bushmaster'. But, at the time, little did he know or all of us know that the site was actually in trouble. The previous government had left the site without any future work plans. The jobs were going to be lost and the site was facing potential closure.

Thankfully, the Australian people elected the Albanese Labor government, and I am proud to say that last week the Minister for Defence Industry visited Bendigo to announce a new contract for the site. An extra 78 Bushmasters will be built at Bendigo to lift the Army's capability back up to where they would like it to be. That contract also secures the jobs at the site for another three years—men and women, proud of what they do, manufacturing Bushmasters. Their jobs are secure for at least the next three years. That is what this government is doing, and that is what I am proud to stand here today to say.