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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 50

Defence Industry


Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (14:33): I ask the Minister for Defence to update the House on how action taken—

An opposition member: To give him his job back!

The SPEAKER: The member for Menzies will begin his question again, and members on my left will cease interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: I ask the Minister for Defence to update the House on how action taken by the government to keep the economy strong enables necessary investment in the defence industry, which creates jobs and provides the capability of a world-class character that our service men and women rely upon.




Mr PYNE (SturtMinister for Defence and Leader of the House) (14:34): I thank the member for Menzies for his question. He knows, as a former Minister for Defence in a previous government, that keeping Australians safe and secure is a fundamental requirement of government. But you can't actually do that successfully unless you can afford to do so. That's why a growing economy and a well-managed budget are critically important to actually securing the nation and keeping Australians safe.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield will leave under 94(a).

The member for Wakefield then left the chamber.

Mr PYNE: Countries that have a sluggish economy, that have a budget stretched to the limit are not able to invest in the platforms and the equipment that gives the ADF the technological edge to be one of the regionally superior forces in our Indo-Pacific region, and that's what we experienced under the previous Labor government for six years. We experienced reductions in defence spending to the lowest level since 1938—the last year of appeasement. But, because this government has been investing in good budgetary management and growing the economy—we've seen amazingly good jobs figures today—we are able to get to two per cent of GDP being spent on defence by 2020, a year earlier than we promised five years ago. That's a $200 billion build-up of our military capability over the next 10 years investing in the capability that's necessary to give our ADF the technological edge that means that they win in combat, that they are the superior force in operations.

It also, through the Defence Industrial Capability Plan we released earlier this year, means we can invest in the sovereign capabilities that we want in this country to be able to do without the support of any other nation if we are placed in that position at any time in the future. It allows us to do the aircraft maintenance and sustainment for the Joint Strike Fighter in New South Wales; in Victoria, the Hawkei protected vehicle in Bendigo; ammunition and explosives at Mulwala and Benalla in Queensland; the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle project, 'the Boxer'; the engine maintenance for Super Hornets, for Growlers and soon for the Joint Strike Fighters in Queensland; trailers and modules are being made in Brisbane for our Army, all being done in Queensland; in Adelaide, submarines, air warfare destroyers, offshore patrol vessels and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at Edinburgh; and, in Western Australia, submarine and ship maintenance of the Anzacs and the offshore patrol vessels and Pacific patrol boats. All of these projects are building our capability under the management of the Minister for Defence Industry and are giving our ADF the capability that they need to be able to be the superior force in combat and operations.