After last week's announcement that up to 25 jobs would be created at Ararat's AME Systems under a $20 million contract, conditional on BAE Systems beating out Rheinmetall for the coveted LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, Victoria's Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said awarding the contract to BAE Systems would reinvigorate regional Victorian manufacturing.
"Securing the LAND 400 contract would be a massive boost for regional manufacturers like AME Systems and will create jobs for our highly skilled workforce," Minister Pulford said.
"Regional Victorian businesses have the proven capability and are ready and waiting to build the next-generation vehicles for the Australian Army."
Ararat's AME Systems, which will manufacture cables and harnesses for the state-of-the-art land military vehicles under the latest contract, is just one of the Victorian supply chain companies that will build components for new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles should BAE Systems win the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract.
AME Systems was established in 1976 and is a leading manufacturer of electrical wiring harness, power and signal distribution systems for heavy transport, automotive, military equipment, special purpose vehicles, motorcycles, marine craft, aircraft and fixed electrical plant equipment.
BAE Systems also recently awarded an additional package of work worth more than $15 million to engineering company Marand for its proposed new Army CRVs.
The package will contribute to the creation of 60 new manufacturing jobs in regional Victoria. Marand is one of Victoria’s biggest defence manufacturers and employs more than 250 people.
Victoria is hoping its record in the design, development and manufacture of military vehicles will help it secure the Land 400 Phase 2 project – a project worth around $5 billion that would create more than 2,000 jobs across Victoria.
Victoria’s defence sector is currently worth $8 billion annually to the economy and made up of about 20,000 people and more than 400 businesses like AME Systems.
Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis added Melbourne will also see the benefits of the project if BAE Systems secures the contract.
“Securing LAND 400 will strengthen our manufacturing sector and give a major boost to companies all over Victoria – whether they be in the city or in the regions," Minister Dalidakis said.
"Billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs for Victorian workers – that’s what LAND 400 is all about."
Federal MP Sussan Ley has also backed BAE Systems' bid, saying areas in the south of NSW hit by the demise of the automotive manufacturing industry are set to benefit if the BAE Systems bid is successful.
"I am delighted to join with my Victorian colleagues to support this bid," Ley said in October when the vehicle was on shown in Albury.
"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."
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.
BAE Systems Australia is proposing the Finnish-designed Patria AMV35, while German firm Rheinmetall Defence Australia is offering the Boxer CRV.
Should they win, BAE will assemble their vehicles at Fishermans Bend, Victoria, while Rheinmetall will make their vehicles in Brisbane.
Defence has completed its evaluation of the BAE Systems and Rheinmetall vehicles. The government will announce its decision next year.