TOWNSVILLE 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 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.

Herbert MP Cathy O'Toole, who is currently on a delegation to Singapore led by former defence minister Kevin Andrews, said she would strongly urge the Federal Government to consider Townsville for the Land 400 project.

Ms O'Toole said she could also see opportunities for North Queensland businesses out of the Singapore deal.

"It would then make logistical sense for a maintenance and upgrade centre to be here in Townsville and create further opportunity for the region while creating more jobs," she said.

"An opportunity like this would build jobs for our veterans and also create great opportunity for transitional jobs out of the Defence Force.

"I know all levels of government here locally support (work) being brought to our region as we know we have great capacity."