Defence contract 'best thing for region since rail in 1865'
OPINION: THE city stands ready to benefit from a military contract the mayor has described as the "best thing" to happen in Ipswich since rail was built in 1865.
With the Federal Government's landmark $5billion military contract awarded to Rheinmetall, mayor Andrew Antoniolli said it would create hundreds of jobs in the region.
"This is a platform for medium to high skilled labour," he said.
"People with high skills particularly in defence industry will be employed through Rheinmetall.
"We do have a defence industry already based here in Ipswich, this adds to it but what I think it will do is also ramp it up for the future."
Cr Antoniolli expected up to 1500 jobs could be created in small and medium enterprise stemming from the contract and build on RAAF Base Amberley.
"We will have one of the largest defence industry sectors here as well," he said. "This is huge for Ipswich, make no mistake. This means jobs for the next 30 to 40 years, for the life of the contract," he said.
The Ipswich City Council will work with Department of State Development and Regional Development Australia to benefit from "great export opportunities".
"Defence's presence and activity in Ipswich stimulates economic activity across Defence industries in the region and state, and across other industries along the supply chain," he said.
"This project directly benefits the Ipswich Defence industry to work with Rheinmetall and enhance its capability to be Defence export ready."
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews claimed it was a politically motivated decision to award the contract to Queensland, a comment Cr Antoniolli rejected.
"I think we partnered with the stronger applicant in Rheinmetall," he said.
He said the city was ready for the contract.
"Our heart is always with our defence force personnel so we are ready, we are able," he said.
"Anyone who wants Ipswich to be the brunt of jokes in the future, just remember where the Boxer CRV is being built - we'll be able to defend ourselves from all comings."