MPs push defence deal case

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - TOM MINEAR

VIC­TO­RIA’S fed­eral MPs have held high-level talks with Defence In­dus­try Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne as a de­ci­sion nears on mil­i­tary con­tracts worth up to $20 bil­lion.

The Turn­bull Govern­ment is set to de­cide in the next three months whether Vic­to­ria or Queens­land will be the base for the army’s big­gest man­u­fac­tur­ing project to build hun­dreds of new war ma­chines.

A group of Vic­to­rian MPs — in­clud­ing Cabi­net min­is­ters Josh Fry­den­berg, Kelly O’Dwyer, Dan Te­han and Greg Hunt — met Mr Pyne this week to push their case.

About 2000 jobs would be cre­ated by the LAND 400 project, and Vic­to­ria’s pitch with mil­i­tary gi­ant BAE Sys­tems would be about 20 per cent cheaper than the Queens­land op­tion.

The MPs ar­gue Vic­to­ria of­fers a man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­gi­neer­ing work­force “un­matched by any other state”.

Mr Pyne has re­fused to com­ment on the ten­der process, with the govern­ment await­ing the Defence Force’s rec­om­men­da­tion be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion on which state will win.

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