Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, has expressed grave concerns for the future of local defence manufacturing and has called on the Abbott government to commit to delivering the Hawkei project in Bendigo.
“The Abbott Government has confirmed its intention to shake up Defence procurement by disbanding and transferring the Defence Materiel Organisation’s core responsibilities to the Department of Defence.
“This period of transition and uncertainty could negatively impact our local defence manufacturing industry.
“At a time when the Abbott Government has confirmed it will make significant changes to Defence procurement, it is imperative that the government commits to delivering the Hawkei project in Bendigo.
“Thales Bendigo is currently developing and testing the next generation of light Personal Mobility Vehicles - the Hawkei. If selected as a replacement for the Army's Land Rovers, it will mean more jobs for Bendigo and investment in the future of Australia's defence manufacturing industry.
“Since January I have been calling on the Government to sign the new Hawkei contract to secure the jobs at the Bendigo-based manufacturer.
“Locking in the new Hawkei contract is vital to securing local manufacturing jobs at the Thales Bendigo facility and the supply chain.
“What we don't want to see is the Abbott Government abandoning these jobs, like they have abandoned jobs in the Australian ship-building and automotive industries.
“Maintaining a heavy industrial base, including the skilled workers here in Bendigo, has important strategic benefits for Australia and must not be allowed to wither and die.
“Bendigo has a proud history of supporting our defence forces and we look forward to continuing that tradition when it comes to the Hawkei.”