LAND 400: What $5b defence contract means for Ipswich

THE decision to award a $5 billion defence contract to a Queensland based company is a "game changer" that will completely transform the city's economy, a peak business body says.   

This morning it was announced the major defence contract to supply new combat vehicles to the Australian Army had been awarded to Rheinmetall.  

The company already has an operation at Wacol and has committed to setting up its $80 million manufacturing centre in Ipswich.   

It means 350 new long-term jobs with lucrative export opportunities for existing businesses in Ipswich over the coming decades.

Overall, the contract could support more than 1000 new jobs within in Ipswich. 

The state's peak body on business, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), says the injection of 350 jobs direct jobs would have a flow on affect that may stem the flow of workers to Brisbane each day.   

CCIQ spokesperson Dan Petrie said that impact would be felt across the state but for Ipswich "it was a game changer".   



"This is a game changer for the Ipswich region," Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesperson Dan Petrie said.   

"It really highlights how the Ipswich workforce can move away from the habit of travelling into Brisbane on a daily basis.  

"A contract like this will really help focus on keeping workers in Ipswich."  

The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules.
The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules.


Mr Petrie said the manufacture of the vehicles meant welcome growth in highly skilled and highly paid positions within the city.   

"A project like this has a flow on effect in services such as accounting and legal professions, as well as more basic services including in the hospitality sector," he said.   

"Ipswich, and Queensland, has been crying out for a big-ticket item like this.   

"To win a contract this big against a major capital city is no small feat that really highlights the ability of a regional city like Ipswich."  

Mr Petrie said the economic boost would be even more welcome given the recent job losses in the manufacturing and food supply business after Steggles Wulkuraka closed it facility and the Churchill Abattoir shut down.     

Almost 1000 jobs were ripped from the local economy when those facilities closed.

Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phillip Bell agreed the decision would have significant flow on affects. 

He said not only was it a vote of confidence in Ipswich's infrastructure and ability to support such a massive manufacturing project, but that more investment might follow.

"Smart money follows smart money," Mr Bell said. 

"This kind of investment confidence will demonstrate to the nation and the rest of the world this is a good place to manufacture."

For a long time the manufacturing industry has been the backbone of Ipswich's economy. 

While the 2016 census statistics show the industry is still the number one employer, manufacturing has had its difficulties with machines performing roles formerly done by people. 

Mr Bell said this contract was an example of how manufacturing high level technology still relied on people. 

"That's the exciting thing about this is not only the additional jobs that it creates (about 350) but the economic activity happening at the upper end of the technology spectrum."