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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2155

Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (16:48): It's a great pleasure to be here in the Federation Chamber. I'm here today to support the bid by BAE to manufacture the new combat reconnaissance vehicle for the Army in Victoria. Last week, with a number of colleagues—the members for Aston, Deakin, Dunkley and Goldstein, and Senator Jane Hume—we visited RUAG, which is a component manufacturer at Bayswater, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne; indeed, it is in the member for Aston's electorate. RUAG is part of the consortium of component manufacturers and other manufacturers with BAE who are part of this bid for the combat reconnaissance vehicle.

RUAG currently manufacture components for the Joint Strike Fighter. Importantly, they showed us part of the landing gear which they manufacture for the Joint Strike Fighter, not just the ones coming to Australia but Joint Strike Fighters that will be distributed around the world. Their role, if this bid by BAE for Victoria is successful, will be to manufacture the vital armour plating for the combat reconnaissance vehicle. Obviously the armour plating is the key in terms of protecting the personnel that travel in such a vehicle. As the member for Hunter, opposite, would fully understand, unless you can protect the personnel in a vehicle such as this then it doesn't matter what other manoeuvrability it has. It doesn't matter what range its guns have. If you can't protect the personnel, then you can't do anything which is very useful in terms of this sort of vehicle. That, of course, will be one of the key components when Defence and the National Security Committee make a decision about this vehicle. That armour plating, if the BAE bid is successful, will be manufactured and assembled in Bayswater, in Victoria.

Previously, quite a number of colleagues and I had the opportunity to visit Fishermans Bend, where BAE operate from, and to ride in the Patria vehicle, which is the Victorian bid in this process. Victoria is well placed to be able to manufacture such vehicles. It's had decades of automotive manufacturing in the state. If the bid is successful for Victoria, there would be some 200 direct jobs and 500 indirect jobs. It's a $1.2 billion initial investment. There are many component manufacturers, not just in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne but right throughout Melbourne, in the south-east in Geelong and elsewhere around the state, who would benefit from this. As I said, I'm here to support the bid by BAE to manufacture this vehicle in Victoria.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Howarth): In accordance with standing order 193 the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.