Jobs and manufacturing in Queensland’s new industries are at the fore as construction of Rheinmetall’s $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Redbank ramps up, with more than 240 tradies, apprentices and trainees on site.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and State Development Minister Cameron Dick have hosted Rheinmetall Group chief executive, Armin Papperger, on a site tour of the company’s new manufacturing facility, which is set to be at the forefront of a high-tech Queensland jobs boom when it becomes operational from mid-next year.
Located in Ipswich on the outskirts of Brisbane, the new centre is a vote of confidence in Australian industry. The Ipswich facility will be home to the production line for the Boxer 8x8 CRV, which is being delivered under Defence’s $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project.
The MILVEHCOE in Ipswich will include:
- Manufacturing and administration buildings;
- A corporate function centre;
- A vehicle compliance testing track;
- An electromagnetic compatibility chamber;
- A fully-enclosed weapons test firing tunnel; and
- Car parking for employees and visitors, vehicle storage, refuelling and wash-down bays, water storage tanks, waste and recycling facilities.
The workforce that will deliver the Boxer vehicles will continue to be used to support sustainment, progressive development and upgrades, as well as potential export opportunities.
Premier Palaszczuk said, "When I met with Mr Papperger in April in Berlin, as part of my trade mission to the United Arab Emirates, Germany and the United Kingdom, I invited him to Australia to inspect the impressive construction work here at the MILVEHCOE."
The Premier said the construction site now has 240 trade workers on-site and has awarded trade packages to 60 south-east Queensland businesses worth more than $100 million.
"Rheinmetall has also been steadily recruiting their permanent workforce since its selection as the successful tenderer with over 60 new employees now based in Brisbane, expanding to 200 permanent Brisbane staff by the end of the year," Premier Palaszczuk added.
Minister Dick said the Palaszczuk government also strongly supported Rheinmetall’s bid for the $10-$15 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 project that will deliver up to 400 infantry fighting vehicles for the Australian Army.
"Attracting a global defence giant like Rheinmetall to Queensland, and the defence projects they secure, are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive the expansion of the state’s manufacturing and defence industries and their capabilities, and create the high skilled jobs of the future that our state needs," he added.
"While the tender evaluations are firmly centred around vehicle capability of which Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 is a strong contender, the MILVEHCOE will also be a compelling consideration."
Papperger said the Queensland MILVEHCOE will be Rheinmetall’s largest presence outside of Germany.
"The MILVEHCOE will be unique within Rheinmetall, as the one site will house some of the best technologies from across our entire defence business – electronics, electro-optics, armour, turrets, vehicles and simulators in addition to an impressive range of development and test facilities,” he said.
These comments were echoed by managing director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia Gary Stewart, who said he expected the MILVEHCOE and its impact across the local supply chain would create more than 450 jobs for Queenslanders.
"Rheinmetall will be growing here in Queensland for decades to come and we are building up an advanced manufacturing workforce that will include a range of highly skilled and qualified workers across a range of specialist disciplines. Jobs will include welders, systems and integration engineers, electro-optics technicians, software coders and developers and other specialisations," Stewart said.