Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP, spoke at Parliament yesterday about the Liberal Government’s “incredibly disappointing” decision to off-shore a Defence Manufacturing Appeal contract.
The $9 million contract awarded to Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) to produce the "non-combat clothing" involves the use of "established sub-contractor arrangements" overseas.
Media reports have revealed that the Department of Defence said the new service dress uniforms to be worn by Australian soldiers are being manufactured in China because the option represents the "best value for money".
While Ms Chesters stressed that these new contracts will not affect any of the existing jobs at the Bendigo ADA manufacturing facility, she said it is another example of missed opportunity to create new manufacturing jobs in our region.
"Bendigo's ADA manufacturing facility has the capability to manufacture these uniforms for our Australia Defence Force men and women. Bendigo already manufactures the ADA combat uniforms.
"I personally can't believe that the Liberal Government does not think that creating and securing manufacturing jobs in Bendigo is not "value for money". Instead the Liberal Government is creating manufacturing jobs in China.
"Most Australians would agree that their tax-paying dollars should be spent on defence materials manufactured in Australia, supporting local businesses and securing local jobs.”
Ms Chesters said it was extremely disappointing that the Liberal Government have again chosen the cheaper, manufactured overseas option, as opposed to the high-quality Australian made option.
"First Vietnam and now China - this Government is creating defence manufacturing jobs in Asia and not Australia.
"How disingenuous is this Liberal Government to have Defence Minister after Defence Minister visit our Bendigo ADA manufacturing facility and pose for photos with local workers, yet send more and more of their jobs overseas.
“The Liberal Government promised 'jobs and growth' during the Federal election but now it's obvious that the only jobs that this Liberal Government is creating are overseas.”