Fraser Coast politicians pledge to push for defence contract
IT REMAINS far from certain that a defence contract worth $5 billion will be brought to Queensland.
But the region's politicians have vowed to do all they can to bring the Australian Army's $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to the Sunshine State.
Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien confirmed all Queensland Coalition MPs had united to try to beat Victoria's bid for the contracts, which involves the creation of 225 state-of-the-art armoured combat reconnaissance and fighting vehicles.
One of the Queensland MPs, Cabinet minister Peter Dutton, says the contracts add up to a "mining boom equivalent", with "thousands of jobs and billions in revenue".
Phase three, expected to go to the winners of the phase two contracts, will involve another 450 infantry fighting vehicles and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles, worth up to $15 billion.
German company Rheinmetall has committed to design, manufacture and maintain 225 Boxers in Queensland if it wins the contract and work has already been done to set up a supply chain if the company is successful - including Maryborough business Global Manufacturing Group.
Phil Dowling, a director at Global Manufacturing Group, said Maryborough would benefit greatly if Rheinmetall was to win the contract.
"If the project comes to Queensland, we'll be part of the supply chain," he said.
"It's taken us three years of work and effort to become part of the supply chain."
Mr Dowling said from what he understood, the Boxers that Rheinmetall is creating are highly versatile and could be used to carry out tasks while in combat or during peacetime.
The vehicles could be used as communication centres and deliver medical supplies.
Mr Dowling said the Maryborough business would be making components if the contract went ahead in Queensland and there would be ongoing work in repairs, replacements and upgrades as well over the five to six year program.
"It's an evolving platform," he said.
Mr Dowling estimated that between 20 to 25 jobs would be created at the business.
"It would be really good for the region," he said.
He said it was likely a decision would be made regarding the contract before Christmas.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders urged the Federal members to push Queensland's case with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Defence Marise Payne.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said Mr Saunders must have missed media articles that confirmed his support for the project.
"On Facebook he's called for myself and the Member for Wide Bay to get behind the Land 400 Phase 2 contract.
"Of course as the Federal Member I support jobs into this region. I have been fighting for this project for some time, alongside my Queensland colleagues."