Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced 211 super tanks for the Australian Defence Force will be built in Queensland as part of a $5 billion contract.
Mr Turnbull travelled to a new facility in Ipswich, west of Brisbane on Wednesday to announce the Rheinmetall Defence Australia will build a fleet of Boxer CRV tanks, with a future $15 billion deal also on the cards.
The tanks will be made by local workers using Australian steel and will guarantee jobs for the next 30 years, Mr Turnbull said.
This is about Australia’s security. But it’s not simply or solely about capability in a military sense. It is about ensuring that we have, for the first time, a fully integrated national sovereign defence industry.”
He said the project would create 1450 jobs across the country.
However despite the prime minister’s jobs predictions, the Federal government earlier estimated the project would create 640 jobs, but only 330 of them in Queensland, with 170 others in Victoria, and 140 in NSW, according to AAP.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Industry Minister Ben Carroll accused the federal government of using the contract for political gain, after Queensland pipped a rival bid by Victoria.
“We really do believe this has been based on marginal seats in Queensland and not the best interests of the nation,” Mr Carroll told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“Victoria has always been the home of manufacturing, it’s the cornerstone of our economy. It’s not the cornerstone of Queensland’s economy – far from it.”
But Queensland’s State Development Minister Cameron Dick says that is about to change.
“It is a new beginning for manufacturing in Queensland,” he told ABC radio.
“We’ve been working with Rheinmetall for three years to secure this contract and I’m delighted we’ll now be able to deliver over 600 jobs for Queenslanders over a decade.”
Federal Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne denied politics is behind Queensland’s win.
“Politics played absolutely no part,” he’s told the ABC.
“The Rheinmetall bid was assessed by Defence as being the successful tenderer. These decisions are taken very seriously by the government and of course by the Department of Defence.”
The contract is a record purchase for the Army and is expected to create hundreds more indirect jobs across Australia.
What does the Boxer CRV tank do?
Protects crew against mines, IEDs and ballistic threats.
Its eight-wheel-drive overcomes the most difficult terrain, handles high speeds on roads and turns in tight spaces.
Equipped with a grenade launcher with potential add-ons including a missile system.
Offers crew a 360-degree view and can be remotely controlled without a crew.
Fitted with a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.