The Queensland government has unveiled its Defence Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan to support its ambition of a 10,000 person-strong, $7 billion defence industries sector by 2028.
Key actions contained in the roadmap include the creation of Defence Jobs Queensland to develop the state’s defence industry and enable delivery of the key strategies and priority actions; establishing defence advisory boards of senior defence and industry personnel; establishing a Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund to help Queensland small-to-medium enterprises get the skills and accreditations needed to compete in the global marketplace; and engaging with the Australian Defence Organisation and industry to attract major defence projects to Queensland.
Speaking at the release of the roadmap, State Development and Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said supporting the defence industries sector with a range of initiatives could see the creation of 3,500 new jobs.
"The federal government’s Defence White Paper and the pace of technological change presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for defence suppliers," the minister said.
"I want to see Queensland businesses reap the benefits."
The minister said the state’s defence industries already employ more than 6,500 people and generated an estimated $6.3 billion in revenue in 2015-16, which the government hopes to grow through key programs like the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, which will see over 100 military vehicles built in Ipswich.
"The Queensland government’s attraction of Rheinmetall to build their LAND 400 Boxer military combat reconnaissance vehicles here demonstrates that we are increasingly being recognised as our nation’s next-generation defence supplier," he said.
"So too does the federal government’s decision to base the Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems in Queensland."
Defence hubs in Ipswich and Townsville have already been allocated $10 million. The hubs would be a source of advice and expertise, focusing on regional supply chain logistics as well as maintenance.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said Ipswich would join in implementing the Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan.
"Ipswich, with its proximity to the Amberley RAAF Base, is an ideal location for a defence industries hub,”Howard said.
"The hub will act as a catalyst for skilled jobs for Ipswich people in advanced manufacturing, and will provide opportunities for small to medium businesses in Ipswich to benefit from this growing sector."
Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller said her electorate was front and centre in the growth of the defence industries sector with the location of the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence, or MILVEHCOE, to build the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles at Redbank Plains.
“The construction of this $170 million facility will support 300 jobs a year over two years and is an excellent example of the economic benefits to be gained from the expansion of the defence industries sector,” Miller said.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Townsville was a logical location for a defence industries hub, and the potential for local jobs resulting from the move underscored its importance.
“Townsville is a proud garrison city and developing a defence industries hub through this roadmap provides exciting opportunities for our region,” Stewart said.
To assist development of the state’s defence industries, the state government has appointed three strategic defence advisers to support and help attract major defence projects to Queensland.
The new advisers are retired Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, retired Rear Admiral Simon Cullen and retired Air Vice Marshal Neil Hart.
Leahy said that the recent run of high profile successes for Queensland’s defence and aerospace industries had shown that local expertise was being recognised.
"There is real momentum in these industries in Queensland, and the roadmaps will ensure that momentum is maintained and accelerated as a range of high-value, technologically advanced national and international projects come on line," he said.
"The sector here benefits from a strong cadre of leading small and medium businesses, who bring to the table the sorts of skills and capabilities that defence forces and prime contractors all over the world are looking to make use of.
"The focus in the roadmaps on improving the ability of local businesses to develop capability and access the defence and aerospace supply chains, as well as a focus on developing a long-term pipeline of projects, will set these industries up for success."
The roadmap can be viewed here.