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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9952

Mr NIKOLIC (Bass) (13:44): On 6 August, the Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, visited the electorate of Bass to inspect Defence and research establishments. His visit to Scottsdale generated much positive commentary because the north-east of Tasmania is a neglected region that has suffered most from the damaging policies of Labor-Green governments in both Hobart and Canberra. Unfortunately, neither of my predecessors were successful in winning more defence work for the facility to ensure meaningful jobs and growth. I can assure the House that is something that I am working hard to change.

While in Tasmania, Minister Robert also held meetings with senior staff at the Centre for Food Innovation in Launceston. The work at this centre will lead to new developments that will enhance the performance of our troops as well as work with the food industry to develop and commercialise these ideas. We later inspected research facilities at the Australian Maritime College and saw leading edge work on underwater noise and ship design testing. Discussions were held on the potential for submarine science and technology collaboration between the college, the DSTO and Japan.

The minister's tour ended at the historic Paterson Barracks in Launceston, which date from 1830. I was delighted with the assistant minister's interest in these facilities and I look forward to working with him to further explore opportunities that benefit my local community and Australia's defence capability.