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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 8976

Defence Industry

Mr VAN MANEN (FordeGovernment Whip) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister update the House on how the government's plan to keep the economy strong consists of building a defence industry, driving investment and jobs and keeping Australians safe? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr CIOBO (MoncrieffMinister for Defence Industry) (14:58): We have another question from a coalition member focused on the things that are important to the Australian people, another question from the coalition side focused on jobs, economic growth and the policies that we're putting in place to make sure Australians have a better standard of living. What a contrast to the 10 questions we've had from Labor—obsessed with the politicking we continue to see from the Labor Party.

But, like the member for Forde, I'm deeply passionate about what we're doing in the defence industry space. I am absolutely delighted to follow on the huge momentum that's been created by the previous Minister for Defence Industry, the now Minister for Defence. The Minister for Defence Industry, now Minister for Defence, did an outstanding job building on the coalition's vision. Our vision in this space is to invest an extra $200 billion to not only ensure that we build an industry around defence but also ensure the frontline men and women who proudly wear the Australian uniform in battlefields all around this globe have the maximum level of protection possible. We absolutely must ensure that those men and women are safe, because they are risking their lives to keep all of us safe. We on this side of the chamber know that.

Frankly, when it comes to the defence industry, the contrast between the coalition's policy approach and the Australian Labor Party's approach could not be more stark. We are investing $200 billion and, when Labor were last in power, they ripped $18 billion out of defence spending. They brought Australia's defence spending down to the lowest level it had been since 1938. So, when Australians go to the next election, they will know that there is a very clear contrast between Labor and the coalition. The coalition is going to build a defence industry, build sovereign capability and invest in making sure that the small and medium-sized businesses across this country can participate in the build-up of national capability when it comes to our defence industry.

In seats like Capricornia, Gilmore, Reid, Chisholm, Corangamite and even in seats that Labor hold—seats like Herbert, Hindmarsh and Braddon—we are seeing investment of $200 billion to grow an industry, to grow a sector and to grow thousands of jobs across this country. You need look no further than the great work that we are doing with the Land Forces conference and, in particular, the contract that we issued in relation to the combat reconnaissance vehicle in Queensland. We are going to see hundreds of jobs created in the member for Forde's seat and other seats to make sure that we deliver on not only our compact with the Australian SME sector in the defence industry but also, most importantly, our compact with the men and women who wear our uniform—to keep them safe so they can keep us safe.