Ipswich to miss out on $5b defence project, jobs boom

IPSWICH is set to be overlooked for a slice of the $5 billion Defence Land 400 war machine contract.

But insiders say North Queensland could be in line for major maintenance and logistics work on the back of the deal, in conjunction with the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative.

Federal Labor Member for Blair Shayne Neumann yesterday joined the calls for the building of 225 state-of-the-art combat reconnaissance vehicles to be carried out in Queensland, writing to Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne in support of Ipswich's bid for the project.

Queensland is fighting Victoria in the bid to secure the $5 billion tank building project.

 

State of the art weapons of war that may soon be made in Queensland.
State of the art weapons of war that may soon be made in Queensland.

About 150 of the vehicles, which will be built under phase two of the Land 400 project, will be based in Queensland to support brigades in Townsville and Enoggera.

Mr Neumann cited Ipswich's strong ties to the Australian Defence Force and experience in the defence industry to pitch the city as an ideal place to build the vehicles.

The Bulletin understands both Ipswich and Townsville are set be overlooked for the building work, which Rheinmetall Defence Australia and BAE Systems Australia are vying for, due to strict contract location requirements.

But with visiting Singapore troop numbers to increase from 6600 to 14,000 each year by 2021, the number of their armoured vehicles that will visit or be based in the North is also expected to rise.

A source told the Bulletin that presented Townsville with a unique opportunity to secure, in full or in part, a huge maintenance contract to service the new vehicles built under the Land 400 project as well as the Singapore vehicles.

 

Queensland may miss out on the Land 400 deal, but opportunities could still come.

Acting mayor Paul Tully says Ipswich would be the perfect place for the project due to the location of RAAF Base Amberley.

"Ipswich has the available land and is already home to RAAF Base Amberley, our very own super base for the Australian Air Force," he said.

"It is also home to army units, a major defence logistics hub and key defence contractors."

Cr Tully said this taskforce of industry heavyweights had been brought together to showcase the city's commitment to grow the defence and aerospace industry, support contractors to expand and help the supply chain develop defence and aerospace capabilities.

"Ipswich has a growing skilled workforce in an emerging education and training sector," he said.