SUCCESS: TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson.
SUCCESS: TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson. Rob Williams

Business proves great defence growth is possible in region

FROM six employees and an F-111 contract almost two decades ago, Ipswich's TAE Aerospace has grown to become the largest Australian owned aerospace company.

TAE started with a Defence sustainment contract in 2000, having won a major F-111 aircraft maintenance contract with the Royal Australian Air Force.

It has grown from six employees to 320 across a wide range of services delivered from across the world.

Under the guidance of CEO and managing director Andrew Sanderson, TAE Aerospace has had well-managed growth resulting from both organic expansion and targeted acquisition.

Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden spoke about the growth of the Amberley-based company in parliament last week.

He is optimistic the expansion of TAE Aerospace to Bundamba will be just the start of Ipswich's defence industry growth.

"The Australian aerospace giant is a major global defence player and about to invest in a $50 million headquarters to maintain engines for the world's most high-profile jet fighters," Mr Madden said.

"The facility will be used for maintenance and engineering on the Pratt and Whitney F135 engines of the Joint Strike Fighter program.

"The Bundamba plant will also service engines for Joint Strike Fighters for Korea, Japan and the US forces in the Australia Pacific region."

The defence industry is worth about $800 million in sales to the Ipswich region and $600 million in exports and accounts.

Mr Madden said there would be about 140 jobs created at Bundamba and an additional 80 to 100 jobs created over the next five to 10 years.

"Ipswich has become a major defence and aerospace enclave," he said.

"It is an ideal location for defence and aerospace companies in the supply chain. It has good distribution points for anywhere in Australia and the Asia-Pacific industry.