Today $5b, tomorrow $15b defence deal
THE hotshot German company awarded a $5 billion defence contract to build armoured vehicles in Queensland will formally bid for a $15 billion deal that could dramatically buffer the state's economy from mining busts and tourism droughts.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia confirmed yesterday it would vie for Land 400 phase three - the next generation of infantry fighting vehicles - by putting forward its 40 tonne Lynx tracked-armoured vehicle.
If it wins the next tender, it will be built at Ipswich where it will assemble its Boxer CRV and will sensationally transform Queensland into a khaki state.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was in Brisbane yesterday to publicly congratulate Rheinmetall for winning the Land 400 phase-two deal, highly placed sources said it put the company in the hot seat to win the next stage, with requests for tenders due by the end of the year.
Queensland politicians heralded the $5 billion deal yesterday, but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews launched into a bizarre Donald Trump-like Twitter tirade, firing off 10 tweets in a matter of minutes to denounce the decision.
The furious Mr Andrews accused Mr Turnbull of betraying Victoria, claiming he sold out the state and awarded the multibillion-dollar defence contract to Queensland to save his job.
"We were best placed to build these vehicles that would defend our nation - but we couldn't provide the electoral boost that would defend Malcolm Turnbull's career," Mr Andrews tweeted.
"And now we know they never had any intention of awarding it to us. Why? Queensland's electoral map."
BAE Systems Australia also vied for phase two, pledging to build the vehicles at Victoria's Fishermans Bend.
Queensland Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said yesterday a number of local businesses across the state would benefit from the deal.
"The Land 400 phase-two contract to deliver the next generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australian Army is a catalytic project, and attracting a global defence giant like Rheinmetall to Queensland will create opportunities for local industry for decades to come," Mr Dick said.
"This landmark project is an economic game-changer that will create 450 advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs for Queenslanders and pump $1 billion into the state's economy in the first 10 years."
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said Global Manufacturing was one of four Queensland businesses that had a teaming agreement with Rheinmetall.
"This means more work for Maryborough locals and more high-skill jobs in the local community for years to come," he said.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said it was also good news for local business Redcat Industries.
"Redcat Industries will also benefit from the transfer of technologies and skills to make them even more competitive," Mr Healy said.
LaserDyne Technologies from the Gold Coast, and NIOA, G&O Kert and Hilton Manufacturing from Brisbane and Ipswich, are also part of Rheinmetall's supply chain.
The Prime Minister yesterday slapped down those who claimed Rheinmetall won the bid because he needed to shore up votes in Queensland.
"This is all about capabilities," Mr Turnbull said.
"This is a decision based on the capability of the vehicle both in terms of lethality and survivability. So this is a decision taken absolutely on the merits.
"By the way, it was a very, very clear choice; unambiguous.
"It's all about making sure that they have got the capability to do the dangerous missions we send them on and the protection to make sure that they can come home safe."
Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell said the right decision was made.
"It is an outstanding addition to army capability and a quantum leap forward in our capacity to prosecute the mission given to us by our Government and to take care of our people in doing so,'' he said.
Rheinmetall executive board member Ben Hudson said the Boxer was the most capable, survivable and adaptable field-armoured fighting vehicle available today.
"The Boxer CRV is highly protected against both asymmetric threats that are being faced in the Middle East by our soldiers, while also being highly protected against conventional battlefield threats that our soldiers may face one day in a conventional war-fighting scenario.
"This vehicle will ensure our soldiers return to their families in one piece, like no other vehicle can."
- Additional reporting Rob Harris