Areas in the south of NSW hit by the demise of the automotive manufacturing industry are set to benefit if BAE Systems Australia’s LAND 400 bid is successful, according to a federal MP.
With BAE Systems' LAND 400 Phase 2 vehicle on show in Albury, member for Farrer in NSW Sussan Ley has thrown her support behind her Victorian colleagues in backing the BAE Systems AMV 35 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV)
"I am delighted to join with my Victorian colleagues to support this bid. Albury-Wodonga has also felt the effect of automotive industry closures, and we have the people and skills right here to help great companies like BAE Systems Australia to build the assets our country needs," Ley said.
If successful in its bid for the project, BAE Systems will build the 225 CRVs in Victoria at Fishermans Bend.
BAE Systems has partnered with North Albury's Milspec Manufacturing, with the SME selected to manufacture the complex electro mechanical subsystems, power systems and electrical wiring harnesses for the AMV35, should BAE Systems be selected as the preferred tenderer.
The NSW company, which has seen its staff grow from 60 to 92 employees in the last year due to defence projects, has estimated its workforce will increase by a further 20 people if the BAE Systems bid is successful.
Milspec managing director David Cooper said its long-term partnership with BAE Systems has already helped its local workforce grow.
"Working collaboratively with BAE Systems Australia over the past 15 years has enabled us to build and sustain a successful local defence supply business," Cooper said.
"During that time, our employment of local people has grown by over 500 per cent, and partnering with BAE Systems on Land 400 will allow us to grow by an additional 20 per cent."
BAE Systems has committed to producing the AMV35 locally, adding that, together with its partners, BAE Systems will invest 60,000 hours to transfer the advanced manufacturing knowledge and capability to the Australian workforce.
"Australia’s defence industry is recognised for its world-class capabilities, and the companies that we have selected as partners have both proven experience and leading-edge manufacturing capabilities," BAE Systems Australia chief executive Glynn Phillips said.
"We can offer the Australian Army the best possible capability that it requires and provide the greatest economic contribution to the nation. This contribution will be right across Australia, including regional areas like Albury.
"Australian production, future upgrades and support of these world-class vehicles will create long-term jobs and deliver strong, sustainable economic benefits, throughout the community."
Along with BAE Systems Australia, Rheinmetall is looking to secure the coveted $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project, with the winning vehicles set to replace the ageing ASLAV fleet.
Rheinmetall has said, if chosen as the successful bidder, it will build the vehicles in Queensland.
The winner of the multibillion-dollar project will be announced in the first half of 2018.