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Victorian government confirms investment in Geelong industry hub

The Victorian government has announced its support for Hanwha Defense Australia to build and maintain Australian military vehicles in Geelong, in a move that stands to create hundreds of highly-skilled local jobs.

The Victorian government has announced its support for Hanwha Defense Australia to build and maintain Australian military vehicles in Geelong, in a move that stands to create hundreds of highly-skilled local jobs.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hanwha, a major South Korean global company, to formalise a long-term partnership that will support the establishment of Hanwha’s defence manufacturing operations in Victoria.

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Minister Pakula was at Laverton North to see Hanwha’s LAND 400 Phase 3 vehicle, after the Commonwealth selected Hanwha as one of two final tenderers, along with Rheinmetall in Queensland.

A PwC report commissioned by Hanwha estimated that the LAND 400 Phase 3 manufacturing effort would generate $5.7 billion in total economic impacts in Victoria.

Hanwha is also looking to build 30 Self-Propelled Howitzers and 15 armoured resupply vehicles in Geelong, and carry out maintenance and repairs during their years of service for the Australian Army, having been recently announced as the sole tenderer for the Commonwealth’s LAND 8116 tender.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said, “Victoria is the home of Australian manufacturing and we are pleased to be working with Hanwha to maximise opportunities for more high-value jobs to be created in Geelong.”

The MoU will enable the government and Hanwha to explore investment opportunities in defence and non-defence sectors. The partnership will strengthen Victoria’s relationship with South Korean industry, driving collaboration and creating opportunities for expanded bilateral trade and investment. 

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“The range of companies working in defence industries is staggering, and we’re backing them to grow further,” Minister Pakula added.

Founded in 1952, Hanwha Corporation has grown to become South Korea’s largest defence company and also operates in aerospace, fintech, mining and clean energy.

Hanwha Defense Australia managing director Richard Cho welcomed the Victorian government’s announcement of support, stating, “Hanwha is delighted to enter into this MoU with the Victorian government. We see it as a strong platform from which to develop our mutual interests in a range of technologies and to establish an advanced manufacturing facility here in Victoria.”

Victoria’s defence sector contributes $8.4 billion annually to the state’s economy with 6,300 small-to-medium businesses working across military vehicle production, maritime design, aerospace components, digital and cyber security, and munitions.

Victorian Liberal senator David Van welcomed the Victorian government's announcement but called for more clarity around the specifics, telling Defence Connect, While I thank the Victorian government signed the MOU with Hanwha yesterday this strategically important project needs a financial commitment from the state government, not more words. As we saw in last month’s budget the Victorian government still has only committed $6 million over the next four years to the whole of the defence sector. 

For a sector which, as Minister Pakula highlighted yesterday, contributes $8.4 billion to the state’s economy each year, this investment from the state government is peanuts.  If the Andrews government continues to ignore this industry it is inevitable that Victorians will lose out on reaping the rewards from the Commonwealths 10-year $270 billion defence capability expenditure plan. LAND 400 Phase 3 is the right opportunity for them to get behind and level the playing field with the other bid in Queensland.

Victoria is well-positioned to capitalise on the Commonwealth’s forecast investment in new defence capability of $270 billion over 10 years.

The Victorian budget 2020-21 allocated $6 million to give the state’s defence sector a competitive edge so it can capture a large share of Australia’s biggest ever defence spend.

Victorian government confirms investment in Geelong industry hub
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