The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Employment and Minister for Training and Skills Development, have welcomed the next stage of Rheinmetall’s MILVEHCOE factory.
The production building that will be the engine room of military vehicle manufacturing at Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s new headquarters in Redbank is finished and ready for fit-out.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a major construction milestone in the delivery of the $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) for Rheinmetall.
"It has been one of my government’s top priorities to successfully deliver this facility to Rheinmetall as quickly as possible to ensure they can complete fit-out and commence production and manufacturing activities on-site without delay," she said.
"With the site’s workforce hitting a peak of 365 tradies, apprentices and trainees in the month of November, Watpac’s sustained efforts has it well placed to have the entire MILVEHCOE facility completed by mid-year."
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the completion of the production building meant Rheinmetall was a step closer to delivering on the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract.
"Delivering large and complex infrastructure projects and bringing them in on budget is one of our key capabilities, and under our long-term partnership with Rheinmetall, this has allowed Rheinmetall to remain focused on its core business," Minister Dick said.
"Since winning the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 tender in February 2018, Rheinmetall has been busy building its Australian workforce, training them in Germany to manage the technology and skills transfer, and importantly delivering the first tranche of Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australian Army."
The LAND 400 Phase 2 project will create up to 450 jobs with Rheinmetall and across the Queensland supply chain in the first 10 years, contributing up to $1 billion to the state’s economy.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said the company was thrilled with the progress of the construction and the current 200-plus Queensland-based employees were keen to move into the new premises.
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"Larger in size than four football fields, the production facility will be the beating heart of our operations and will accommodate many facets of our military vehicle operations," Stewart added.
"In addition to three simultaneous vehicle production lines, the production facility will feature a weld shop, an armoury, prototyping workshop, turret and simulator assembly, paint booths, heavy maintenance and a large warehouse area."
Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said TAFE Queensland, and particularly the SkillsTech campus at Acacia Ridge, was perfectly placed to deliver a full range of skills development programs to suit Rheinmetall’s current and future needs.
"TAFE has already been training experienced welders to the international standards demanded by Defence following the purchase of 15 augmented reality welding simulators. The partnership with Rheinmetall Defence Australia and the delivery of the LAND 400 Phase 2 project is creating the high skilled, knowledge-based jobs of the future right through the supply chain," Minister Fentiman said.