MANUFACTURING ERA DAWNS: Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, NIOA managing director Rob Nioa and Rheinmetall director Rod West after the announcement of a major munitions factory for the Heritage City yesterday.
MANUFACTURING ERA DAWNS: Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, NIOA managing director Rob Nioa and Rheinmetall director Rod West after the announcement of a major munitions factory for the Heritage City yesterday. Alistair Brightman

New manufacturing era dawns in M'boro

A NEW era of manufacturing could dawn in Maryborough as soon as next year after a $60 million munitions factory was announced for the Heritage City.

If approved, hundreds of workers will be required to start construction on the factory in the second-half of 2019.

Arms dealer NIOA and German war machine builder Rheinmetall have submitted a business case for the development of the factory, which remains subject to final approval.

The announcement comes as a major win for the job-starved Wide Bay region, with hopes the project will reignite interest in Maryborough's once booming manufacturing industry.

Documents obtained by the Chronicle reveal a total of 452 jobs are estimated from the construction and operational phase of the development.

About 100 direct manufacturing jobs will be created during the operational phase of the project, with another 87 jobs created across other industries including retail, property and transport.

74 more jobs will be created outside the region.

Announcement of munitions factory in Maryborough - (L) Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien, Rob Nioa (Mg. Dir. Nioa) and Rod West (Director Rheinmetal).
Announcement of munitions factory in Maryborough - (L) Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien, Rob Nioa (Mg. Dir. Nioa) and Rod West (Director Rheinmetal). Alistair Brightman

$28.5 million for the project was approved under the Federal Government's Regional Growth Fund, but both companies have sought additional support from the State Government to help fund the proposal.

Joined by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said the announcement would put a spring in Maryborough's step and be a "big bump" for the local economy.

"This is a project that will transform Maryborough's economy and give our region a key stake in the defence of our nation," Mr O'Brien said.

"I believe this is potentially the dawn of a new era in advanced manufacturing for Maryborough.

"This is a long-term quality project for the area."

If approved, construction is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2021.

About 30,000 cases will be built per year when the factory is fully operational by 2022.

Mr McCormack said Maryborough deserves the project given its location.

"It's not just about creating more jobs, its also about making sure the capability of our Australian Defence Force personnel is bolstered," Mr McCormack said.

"It's a red-letter day for Maryborough."

NIOA Managing Director Robert Nioa said the centre would create Australian Industry Capability for current and future contracts.

"Federal Government support has enabled this project to move past a critical phase," Mr Nioa said.

"There is competition around the world for factories like this, the fact the Australian Government stood up and attracted the attention of Rheinmetall and NIOA... and particularly demanded it be in a regional area, one that required a transformational industry that would address unemployment issues... that was the policy setting and the funding that has led us to this path."

The forging and manufacturing plant will include a hydraulic press forge, heat treatment and machining processes.

Shells constructed at the factory will be supplied to various factories throughout the world to be completed and then supplied to army personnel including the ADF.