Ready to boom

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - MATTHEW KILLORAN

MORE than $20 bil­lion in mil­i­tary con­tracts and man­u­fac­tur­ing could flow into Queens­land in the next decade if the state lands a lu­cra­tive deal to build state-of-the-art tanks.

Queens­land MPs have al­ready dubbed the Land 400 con­tract to build 225 ar­moured re­con­nais­sance ve­hi­cles “big­ger than the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar Adani mine” – but say it could act as an an­chor to turn the state into a hub for de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­vel­op­ment in­dus­tries.

MPs are now con­sid­er­ing ways to link other ma­jor de­fence in­vest­ments, such as the $2 bil­lion Sin­ga­pore army train­ing base at Shoal­wa­ter Bay and Townsville.

Mil­i­tary con­trac­tor Rhein­metall is one of two com­pa­nies bid­ding for the ini­tial $5 bil­lion Land 400 phase two con­tract and has promised to set up shop in Queens­land if it wins. It is al­ready eye­ing off phase three, worth up to $15 bil­lion, while other or­gan­i­sa­tions have be­gun look­ing to Queens­land for fur­ther in­vest­ment in de­fence in­dus­tries. In­ter­na­tional mis­sile man­u­fac­turer MBDA is un­der­stood to be con­sid­er­ing a pres­ence.

Rhein­metall has pledged an $80 mil­lion re­search fund with Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and other ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions if it wins.

The 26 Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment MPs and sen­a­tors, un­der the ban­ner “Team Queens­land” have been push- ing for Rhein­metall and ex­pect a win­ner to be an­nounced early next year. Rhein­metall is one of two com­pa­nies bid­ding for phase two, with BAE pledg­ing to op­er­ate in Vic­to­ria.

Fair­fax MP Ted O’Brien, who has led the lo­cal charge, said the mil­i­tary con­tract could be the start of a new em­ploy­ment in­dus­try.

“This is an enor­mous ex­port­ing op­por­tu­nity for Queens­land that gives sus­tain­abil­ity for jobs,” he said. ED­I­TO­RIAL P20

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