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Government salvages another Defence failure

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November 9, 2011

The Australian Government has been criticised for celebrating the awarding of a defence contract that only became possible because another Australian company went bankrupt.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel, Senator Gary Humphries, said the Labor Government needed to do more to support Australian defence industry, after it congratulated Boeing for salvaging a contract relating to Australia’s new Super Hornet aircraft.

Boeing had been working with Australian company Production Parts to provide rudder pedal kits but Production Parts went into receivership in August. Boeing has now signed a contract with Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering for essentially the same work.

“My congratulations to Ferra Engineering, and to Boeing for supporting Australian SME’s, but this contract needs to be kept in perspective,” Senator Humphries said.

“This is not supporting defence industry - this is damage control.

“Thousands of jobs have been lost from Australia’s defence industry over the past 3 years under Labor and as much as $14 billion worth of major projects have been deferred since the 2009 White Paper.

“Julia Gillard ripped $4.3 billion out of defence in her first budget as Prime Minister.

“Labor are desperate to throw up a smoke screen on defence procurement to hide the fact that they are doing very little indeed.

“Defence industry needs a steady stream of work to maintain skills and efficiently direct investment.

“Even if the Government were to approve a dozen major projects tomorrow, it would not fix the problem,” Senator Humphries said.