Treasurer praises defence industry's contribution to economy

Treasurer praises defence industry's contribution to economy
Treasurer Scott Morrison

A month out from the delivery of Australia's 2017-18 budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison has identified the defence industry as a key player in growing jobs and the wider Australian economy.

Speaking at an event in Sydney, Morrison said the government's defence industry plan is a key pillar in expanding Australia's workforce.

"Our defence industry plan is part of our wider jobs and growth agenda," Morrison noted.

"It makes sense. A strong local defence industry promotes innovation and technology, and the pipeline of work embodied in the continuous build approach will provide advanced manufacturing jobs for Australians for decades to come."

The Treasurer said the defence industry's growing workforce will focus on new, high-tech jobs, particularly within the naval shipbuilding sector.

"The defence plan creates new high-tech jobs in Australia — including 5,200 direct jobs in naval shipbuilding, not to mention other jobs right across the supply chain.

"The multi-billion Offshore Patrol Vessel project, which will see the construction of 12 new Australian-built vessels, is expected to create around 400 direct jobs, with construction starting in Adelaide in 2018 before moving to Western Australia in 2020.

"Further, as part of a $306-million project that will create up to 207 jobs, 19 Pacific Patrol Boats will be built in Western Australia. Construction of the first replacement Pacific Patrol Boat by Austal is scheduled to commence later this month.

"The Turnbull government is also establishing the Maritime Technical College to support the significant workforce expansion and skilling needs for naval shipbuilding and sustainment.

Morrison also discussed the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which will see Australia secure 72 of the aircraft, saying the global program will play a part in creating thousands of jobs in the defence industry.

"We are also purchasing and will maintain 72 aircraft as part of the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program which will create 2,600 extra defence industry jobs by 2023, more than doubling the current associated workforce of 2,400, and provide a multi-million dollar economic injection into the Australian economy."

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