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Bushmaster contract revised.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Robert Hill Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate


26 Jun 2002 MIN 308/02



Bushmaster contract revised


The Federal Government has agreed to a revised Bushranger contract in a bid to revive the troubled project and ensure that Australian soldiers get safe and reliable vehicles while taxpayers get value for money.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said the decision came as a result of negotiations between Defence and ADI Bendigo, the supplier of the vehicles.

"The Government’s decision will allow ADI to prepare for production and ensure ongoing work at the ADI plant in Bendigo," Senator Hill said.

"It will also allay the concerns and uncertainty among the ADI workforce and Bendigo community - concerns that have been fuelled by Labor’s continued and irresponsible campaign of misinformation in relation to this project.

"Local jobs have been preserved and it is now up to ADI to demonstrate it can deliver the vehicles on time, within specifications and on budget."

Senator Hill said the Government would proceed with full production under the revised contract if ADI met agreed targets in reliability testing scheduled for late this year and early 2004.

"This would provide Defence with the capability to transport troops over large areas of operation, Bendigo with significant work and ADI with potential export opportunities," Senator Hill said. "However, I must stress that we will not accept a vehicle that if it falls short of the required standards because it could put soldiers at risk."

Defence contracted ADI in 1999 to equip the Army’s 7th Brigade and the Royal Australian Air Force’s Airfield Defence Guards by October this year with over 370 Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles. The contract stalled when ADI advised it could not deliver the expected quantity and quality of vehicles within the agreed timeframe and budget.

Under the terms of the amended contract, Defence will pay significantly more for each vehicle -

receiving 299 vehicles within the existing project budget. The contract will also be revised to ensure that taxpayers’ funds are protected if the vehicles fail to meet reliability requirements. It is expected that vehicle production will start shortly after the contract is signed.

The vehicle provides protection for its occupants against land mines, mortars and small arms ammunition.

The vehicles will be fitted with a weapon station capable of mounting the Australian Army’s in-service light machine guns. It can maintain speeds in excess of 90 kph on first class roads with a range of 600 kilometres and can carry mission essential equipment to support an infantry section on operations for three days.

The Bushmaster vehicles could be used in peacekeeping operations, similar to those currently being conducted in east Timor.




























Media contact: Catherine Fitzpatrick 02 6277 7800/ 0405 351 245

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