Biggest Ever Defence Deal To Make Us Safer And Richer

Prime Minister

Labor has just landed the single largest defence export agreement in Australia’s history – and the deal means jobs and economic opportunity for Queensland.

Queenslanders will be building more than 100 new Boxer heavy weapon carrier vehicles at Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank in Ipswich.

This new agreement will secure 600 direct jobs in Queensland, with economic opportunity flowing right through the supply chain. These armoured vehicles will be exported for use by the German Army.

The landmark export agreement, initiated by my government last year and now endorsed by the German parliament, is worth more than $1 billion for the Australian economy.

It puts Queensland-based manufacturing at the forefront of delivering world-leading defence capability not only to the Australian Defence Force but now also to our security partner, Germany.

Supplying Australian-made armoured vehicles to Germany is an important milestone for Australian defence industry.

This agreement represents a significant boost to our sovereign capability, and it will highlight Australia’s world-leading skills.

The Boxers are highly advanced military vehicles, made in Redbank using state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing processes.

Winning this landmark export deal is a tribute to the skills and abilities of the Rheinmetall workforce at the Redbank facility. Supporting Germany’s strategic needs is a jobs opportunity for Queensland.

Labor pursues export deals like this to support Australian jobs. We want a future made in Australia.

We want a future made in Queensland – by Queenslanders.

We want a strong Australian defence industry.

We want to support Australian technology and talent, because nurturing that capability creates opportunity and underwrites prosperity for Queensland and for the rest of the country.

Export opportunities like this are a win-win.

Hardworking Australians have secure and stable jobs while producing advanced capability for our allies and partners around the world.

A future made in Australia is about highly skilled workers, making high-value products, while getting the good pay and conditions that successive Labor governments have fought for and delivered.

Growing Australia’s defence industry is a key priority of the government, and this strategy has measurable economic benefits.

Just last week, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed more than 100,000 jobs nationwide are supported directly and indirectly by Australia’s defence manufacturing industry. The number of defence manufacturing jobs has also risen over the past 12 months, with 3800 new jobs created in 2022-23.

But expanding the footprint of local defence manufacturing is about more than seizing economic opportunity for Queensland and the rest of the country.

We want Australians to be safe at home, and secure in the world.

Sovereignty and safety at home and security abroad is a core priority of my government.

Growing Australia’s defence industrial base is central to that objective.

A strong local defence industry is a key pillar of Australia’s national security because it ensures we can build the equipment and platforms our ADF soldiers, sailors and air crews need to defend the country.

An innovative, resilient, internationally competitive Australian defence industrial base creates a stronger, more secure Australia.

Our actions are anchored in a strategic framework – and shaped by an overarching vision for Australia’s future and our place in the world.

When our government invests in Australia’s capability, when we invest in our international partnerships, we are investing in Australia’s ability to shape the future – and to share in the benefits of change.

This opinion piece was first published in the Courier Mail(link is external) on Tuesday, 2 April 2024.

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