The Victorian Labor government is hoping to lure some of the world’s most innovative defence companies to Fishermans Bend, with the state’s defence and technology capabilities to be pitched to European representatives this week.
Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis will meet with representatives from Europe’s defence, technology and infrastructure sectors to explore trade and investment opportunities.
Minister Dalidakis will engage with key stakeholders, decision makers and government representatives in the UK to encourage the UK government to choose the Bushmaster, a military vehicle manufactured by Thales in Bendigo, as the next addition to its defence force.
The minister will then travel to the heart of the French defence industry – the Centre-Loire Valley – to discuss R&D activities and opportunities for collaboration with Victoria.
Australia's connection with French industry has been tipped to grow significantly since France's Naval Group was appointed as the designer of Australia's Future Submarines.
The Victorian government said it chose to target the UK and French industries because of their status as world leaders in innovation, which it hopes to replicate in Victoria.
"By connecting Victoria’s industries with leading innovators in Europe, we’re helping boost exports, strengthen the local economy and create jobs," said Minister Dalidakis.
"Victoria offers foreign companies a gateway into Asia and more and more international companies are developing a presence in our great state."
The state government hopes to have defence companies set up shop in Fishermans Bend, the 32-hectare site five kilometres outside of Melbourne’s CBD that is the centrepiece of Victoria's joint bid with BAE Systems Australia for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project. If successful in the bid, BAE Systems will develop a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at the ex-General Motors Holden site.