PM puts $1b forward in defence of Australia

 

Modern navy uniforms manufactured by NSW textile workers, more hours for reservists and huge upgrades to major bases will shore up thousands of jobs a under a billion-dollar defence spending spree.

At least 4000 new jobs will be created in the next two years as the federal Government brings forward $1bn in Australian Defence Force ­investment in a bid to cushion the blow of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Among the accelerated projects receiving funds is a navy uniform modernisation program creating a new lightweight, fire resistant and specially designed camouflage pattern, which is expected to support 110 Australian jobs.

About 2200 jobs will come from construction as ageing bases are given a $300m upgrade, including works at ­facilities in Jervis Bay and Eden, Blamey Barracks, Wagga Wagga and the Albury Wodonga Military Area.

 

Jobs at Richmond RAAF base will be part of the package.
Jobs at Richmond RAAF base will be part of the package.


The NSW aerospace industry will get a boost, with jobs for maintaining the C27-J transport jet at Richmond and developing a new drone to ­accompany fighter jets also fast tracked.

Ex-Qantas and Virgin ­engineering and technical workers are expected to get 37 of the maintenance jobs with the C27-J, split between Richmond and Amberley RAAF bases.

Included in the spending is $80m for workforce schemes such as allowing reservists who have lost civilian work to do more hours in the ADF.

There will be 210,000 ­additional days for up to 27,000 reservists.

There's also $200 million for developing new defence capabilities, including further investment in the Boeing Loyal Wingman Program, construction of a large hull vessel and development of a Sovereign Tactical Communication Network.

 

Prime Minister says the new jobs will help reservists during tough times caused by the pandemic. Picture: Gary Ramage
Prime Minister says the new jobs will help reservists during tough times caused by the pandemic. Picture: Gary Ramage

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the spending would help reservists struggling during the COVID-19 crisis as well as create "high-paying, high-skilled" jobs in Australian defence industries. "Like much of the economy, our local defence industry is doing it tough ­because of COVID-19. This is especially so for small and medium sized businesses, that are critical to jobs," the PM said.

"We want to build our sovereign industrial capabilities and Australian workforce to keep our people safe."

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said cash brought forward would speed up infrastructure, training and equipment initiatives over the next two years.

"We're getting on with the job of delivering critical capability outcomes to army, air force and navy, as well as continuing to support our personnel, including ADF Reserve members," she said.

Originally published as PM puts $1b forward in defence of Australia