Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, last week made a site visit to Marand, one of companies that will gain contracts in Victoria should BAE win the Land 400 Federal Defence contract.
The decision on the $5 billion deal due soon.
Mr Ramsay spoke to the Victorian Parliament about the possibilities this week, urging the Andrews Government to do everything possible to support the BAE tender.:
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Industry Hon. Ben Carrol and the action I seek for the Minister is to do everything possible to help support the BAE tender for the $5 billion Land 400 Defence project. I know since he took on the portfolio he has been a strong advocate for Victoria to be the manufacturing hub for the Land 400 project.
He can’t do this alone though.
I say this because the Andrews Government has been asleep at the wheel while our Federal Victorian Liberal MPs have been lobbying madly over the last three years to have the BAE tender be successful given strong competition from a Queensland based Rheinmetall tender .
The Andrews Government dithered over the establishment of the Geelong Defence procurement office when it won Government, sacked the CEO in the first day, dumped Geelong, in favour of Fishermans Bend as a site for the assembly plant and the local Labor MPs showed no interest in the project. It’s only this year that the Andrews Government has woken up from its Defence slumber and is now putting out self- congratulatory full-page ads in the metro papers on the importance of Victoria winning this tender.
And it is true. A recent visit to Marand Industries last week – and I thank Alex Lyon Business Development Manager for his time and patience in briefing me on the historical and current business activity of Marand – which demonstrated to me we have a company primed to provide the work skills and tooling to make the undercarriage and turrets of the 225 armoured all-terrain vehicles.
Marand is currently making vertical tails for the F-35 jet fighter and has leased the Geelong Ford engine plant currently employing 40 workers . If BAE is successful apart from the 500 jobs and economic value that Fishermans Bend region will receive, Geelong will also gain benefit by having Marand receiving approximately $100m of work associated with the Land 400 Project t. This will provide an extra 60 jobs and provide trickle supply chain benefits to other companies.
I understand that a decision by the Australian Government through recommendations from the National Security Council on the awarding of the tender is imminent so it is vital the Minister, and the Andrews Government, do everything in its power to put Victoria in poll position to win this tender.