Defence jobs in focus at landmark meeting
LOCAL defence opportunities were the focus at the first South Queensland Defence Advisory Board meeting.
The inaugural meeting, hosted at Volvo Group's Wacol headquarters, brought together industry leaders to provide government with vital strategic advice on how to continue boosting investment and jobs in defence.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the government was working to maximise economic opportunities across a range of defence projects after the landmark $5 billion LAND 400 deal, under which Rheinmetall Defence will manufacture new-generation Australian Army vehicles at Redbank, was secured.
"Working closely with the proposed defence hub for Ipswich, the South Queensland Defence Advisory Board will offer advice through the Minister's Advisory Council on how to continue growing the local sector and winning more contracts as part of the Australian Government's ongoing modernisation of its defence forces," Mr Dick said.
"This board's role is being mirrored in the north by the North Queensland Defence Advisory Board to ensure we're taking full advantage of the unique defence strengths and capabilities that exist right across Queensland.
"Both boards will also help drive the delivery of our Queensland Defence Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, which is our government's guide to significant investment attraction in the future."
Board Chair Jane Hunter, from Boeing Defence Australia, said the region had many strategic advantages in building defence capability, with a strong industrial base supporting over 6,500 jobs and offering access to a global supply chain.
"South Queensland is home to a vibrant and growing defence industry, including some of our state's key defence assets, such as the Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, Gallipoli Barracks Enoggera and Greenbank Military Range," Ms Hunter said.
"We also have an agile network of highly capable defence primes and a growing number of small-to-medium enterprises entering the defence market, helping to position Queensland as a leader in innovative technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems."
Board member and Volvo Vice President of Marketing and Communications Teresia Fors said south Queensland's well-developed defence industry made it an ideal place to do business.
"In the 46 years Volvo has had its heavy vehicle operations based in Brisbane, we've really seen the industry here grow," Ms Fors said.
"The capability and innovation that exists in the local supply chain is one of the things that makes it such an appealing place for a prime contractor like us to be based."