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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5967

Mr CLARE (BlaxlandMinister for Defence Materiel) (17:00): I am very happy to do that, plus provide a bit of additional information which the member for Fadden may be interested in. On 12 May the Minister for Defence and I announced the government had approved the purchase of 101 Bushmasters. The Bushmaster is an outstanding vehicle. It has saved dozens of Australian lives. The workers at the Bendigo factory that build the Bushmaster are doing a great job, and I have been down there, like the member for Fadden, to thank them for the work that they do. The purchase of an additional 101 Bushmasters provides for operational attrition. Thirty-one Bushmasters have been damaged beyond repair in recent years and their replacement with a further 70 vehicles will support current and future operations. This announcement obviously has flow-on effects for Thales and their workforce in Bendigo.

The member asked about the timing of LAND 121 phase 3. I can advise the member that Defence has now tested the vehicles supplied as part of the tender evaluation process and Defence will next make recommendations and put these to the government for consideration. This has not happened yet but is expected to take place in the coming months. The member also asked some questions in relation to phase 4. This is a program that has two parts to it: the JLTV program as well as the 'manufactured and supported in Australia' part of that program. The testing and analysis part of the program for this phase of 121 is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2011.