Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, has welcomed news the Netherlands has ordered 12 Bendigo-made Bushmasters and said the purchase was a huge tick of approval for local defence manufacturing capability.
“This is fantastic news. Another dozen life-saving Bushmasters going into production here at Thales in Bendigo will help secure local jobs in the short-term.
“These export orders are vital, however, what we really need is for our own Minister of Defence to finalise the contract for the next generation of defence armoured vehicles, the Thales-built Hawkei.
“Right now we can’t afford to lose any more defence manufacturing jobs, locally and in Australia. This Government can and must do something about it by signing the Hawkei contract.
“What we don't want to see is the Abbott Government abandon these jobs, like they have abandoned jobs in the Australian shipbuilding industry.
“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 Bushmaster is an outstanding vehicle with a proven track record of saving troops’ lives. We know there is no vehicle safer than a Bushmaster for moving troops and personnel.”
Ms Chesters said the Netherlands’ decision to order a further 12 Bushmasters, in addition to the 86 it has previously purchased, was a testament to the very high standard of local defence manufacturing and the skill and professionalism of the Bendigo Thales workforce.
“This order from the Dutch Ministry of Defence shows Australian manufacturing can compete in the global arena and closely follows Bushmaster exports to Japan and Jamaica over the past 18 months.
“Defence manufacturing in Bendigo certainly has a proud history and if given the support of our own Government, it will have a promising and successful future,” she said.
- Delivery of the 12 Bushmaster vehicles is expected by mid 2016.
- The troop carrier variants will be fitted with additional composite armour, Remote Weapon Stations, and Thales’s market-leading SOTAS intercom system.
- Thales in Bendigo has developed and tested the next generation of light protected mobility vehicles (PMVs) - the Hawkei.
- By selecting the Hawkei as the replacement for the Army's Land Rovers, the Abbott government has the opportunity to secure existing jobs and create new jobs in Australia's defence manufacturing industry.