The Prime Minister has reinforced the government’s commitment to supporting local defence capability after visiting the Rheinmetall NIOA artillery shell forging plant in Queensland.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has visited Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions’ (RNM) $60 million munitions facility in Maryborough, Queensland, just months ahead of completion of the 7000-square-metre facility.
Queensland-based Badge Constructions broke ground on the four-hectare Moonaboola Industrial Estate site in March 2020, with the facility expected to be fitted out and commission by the middle of 2022.
Once complete, the plant is estimated to produce 30,000 artillery shells for the Australian Defence Force and the German Army.
RNM deputy chair Robert Nioa welcomed the Prime Minister, adding that the joint venture would advance the government’s objectives by creating roughly 100 jobs in the region and bolstering sovereign capability.
''It's a great honour to have the Prime Minister here,” he said.
“It not only speaks volumes for the strategic importance of the defence industry but also how vital this factory is to transitioning the local economy into new and advanced manufacturing opportunities, ensuring jobs, skills and trades stay in the Fraser Coast region.”
RNM chairman Roman Koehne added that the new facility would place Maryborough among the world’s most advanced military manufacturing centres.
''Rheinmetall is known worldwide for advanced manufacturing and chose Maryborough over a number of other cities and regions,'' Koehne said.
''The level of expertise, skills and precision that this facility will have not only creates a spotlight on Maryborough as a hub of cutting-edge technology but will enhance the reputation of Australia in the global supply chain.''
Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture are among the key priorities of the Morrison government’s Sovereign Industrial Capability plan.
As such, the Maryborough plant has benefited from multi-level government support, with the federal government injecting $28.5 million through the Regional Growth Fund.
The Queensland state government has also provided funding via the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, with the Fraser Coast Regional Council also supporting the facility’s development.
This forms part of the federal government’s $270 billion investment in defence over the next decade.
[Related: NIOA signs supply contract with Winchester]