Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Andrews Government needs to do more for Geelong’s bid for LAND 400 combat vehicle
Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay called on Premier Daniel Andrews in State Parliament this week to explain how well the LAND 400 procurement office is functioning in Geelong.
Mr Ramsay asked that given the Andrews Government’s commitment to a procurement office, what action was the Premier taking to establish the office and advocate strongly for Geelong.
“The $10 billion LAND 400 combat vehicle purchasing program, currently being undertaken by the Australian Defence Force, needs to replace 253 Australian light armoured vehicles that came into operation in 1994 but no longer provide adequate blast protection from roadside bombs.
“This is Australia’s largest, most expensive and complex combat vehicle purchase and will provide the army with a world-class armoured fighting vehicle capability for the next 20 years.
“Along with the City of Greater Geelong, G21 and the wider community, I believe the Geelong region is well placed for the design, production and maintenance of this new combat vehicle.
“High-technology manufacturing, advanced production, software development and maintenance, along with vehicle system integration and logistic skills, will be needed to meet the LAND 400 program objectives.
“Geelong has the capability in all these areas and has the capacity to become an internationally competitive, advanced, manufacturing-led economy.
“This capacity is being recognised in a range of new and innovative industries, such as the manufacturing of carbon fibre products and the Carbon Revolution works.
“A successful Geelong tender to build these combat vehicles will help Geelong transition from its existing manufacturing sector, which has been under threat with the closure of Alcoa and the foreshadowed closure of Ford, and offer ongoing employment to many highly trained and skilled employees now ready to be redeployed in this new advanced manufacturing industry.
“The Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, has also recognised the importance of this project to Geelong and has been using all the means at her disposal with her State coalition colleagues to give Geelong every opportunity to present a strong case throughout the tendering process.
“The Federal Minister for Defence, the Honourable Kevin Andrews, was at Puckapunyal last week where he announced a $10 billion vehicle request for tender, Mr Ramsay said.
“In the last days of the State election campaign the Labor Party committed $5 million for a procurement office in Geelong after significant pressure from the City of Greater Geelong, G21 and others.
“Geelong is fighting hard to win the LAND 400 contract, but our local Labor members seem to be asleep at the wheel, and regrettably the Andrews Government is silent in its advocacy.
“The Avalon Air Show is a great opportunity for the Andrews Government to meet with the Australian Defence Force to advocate strongly for the merits of Geelong being recognised in the tender process.
“The Premier needs to explain how well the procurement office is functioning in Geelong and what actions he is taking to advocate strongly for Geelong”, Mr Ramsay said.