During a tour and briefing of the Bendigo Thales site, Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters was able to get up close to the next Bendigo Thales project LAV (CRV).
Bendigo Thales is vying for the Australian Defence Force Land 400 Phase 2 contract with their prototype vehicle the LAV (CRV).
“My understanding is that whilst there has been a lot of speculation and politicking around the Land Phase 400 Phase 2 contract, it will be the next Federal Government that will make the decision.
“Therefore, it will be the role of the next Federal Member for Bendigo to go to Canberra to fight for this contract and for Bendigo Thales. I am ready for that battle.
“By selecting the LAV (CRV) the next Federal Government has the opportunity to secure existing jobs and create new jobs in the Bendigo defence manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturing the Land 400 at Thales Bendigo just makes a lot of sense as we already manufacture the Bushmasters and Hawkeis for the Australian Defence Force.
“Thales Bendigo has developed and tested first the Bushmaster and now the Hawkei. Both of these defence armoured vehicles are currently being manufactured at the facility for the Australian Defence Force.
“I’m backing their bid to develop and test the next defence vehicle required by the ADF, the Land 400 Phase 2.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Bendigo. If Thales is successful, Bendigo will become Australia’s armoured vehicle manufacturing hub as well one of the world leaders in armoured defence vehicles manufacturing.
"What we don't want to see is the next Federal Government abandon jobs and our local defence manufacturing industry.
"Here in Bendigo we have had to fight way too hard during this term to get the current Liberal Government to understand the importance and significance of this industry.
“The importance of locking in this third defence armoured vehicle manufacturing contact for Bendigo to manufacturing jobs and local industry cannot be understated.
“Bendigo needs these jobs. Maintaining a strong industrial base, including the skilled workers here in Bendigo, has important strategic implications for Australia, therefore, we must not allow this industry to die.
“The Land 400 Phase 2 contract will ensure defence manufacturing continues in Bendigo well into the future.
“This contact will also secure the many small to medium supply chain businesses and jobs.
"Ensuring as much of the supply chain for Australian Defence contracts is local content will create and secure local jobs.
“July 2nd is election day. Only July 3, if I am re-elected as the Federal Member for Bendigo my campaign to support Bendigo Thales’ bid for Land 400 will begin.
“Landing the Land 400 contract for Bendigo Thales will require a team effort. However, Bendigo has a proud defence manufacturing history and the capacity to do more,” said Ms Chesters.
During the visit and briefing Ms Chesters also viewed the first Hawkei in production for the $1.6 billion ADF contact that was secured late last year after a long campaign.
"The facility was buzzing with the Bushmaster and Hawkei sheds in production.
"Bendigo should be proud of these men and women. Every day they make manufacturing vehicles that save the lives of Australian soldiers,” said Ms Chesters.