31 Aug | '2020
The defence of our nation is a solemn duty of our government, and with an unprecedented $270 billion investment the Morrison government one rising to meet the challenge of our times as we work towards two per cent of GDP for defence spending. That investment will create new opportunities for small businesses and create thousands of new jobs. By contrast, Labor raided the defence budget to pay for their economic mismanagement; they cut $18 billion. In Moncrieff, business leaders have been coming together to rebuild the existing industries and to create the future of new and emerging industries. I’ll be spreading the word to Gold Coast small businesses to scan our defence industry for opportunities.
The families of Moncrieff will also benefit from jobs which are created by defence industry. One that comes to mind in Moncrieff is Combat Clothing Australia in Southport, owned by Stuart Bruce. It manufactures clothing for defence. And there are definitely a lot of other opportunities that one may not think about which could apply to the central Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff. Imagine also the inspiration for Gold Coast students enthusiastically studying STEM subjects, knowing the potential of a career in the defence industry.
We ask so much of all those who serve in the Australian Defence Force. The member for Herbert exemplifies that service. He served with the Australian Army in East Timor and in Afghanistan, where he was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device. The arduous recovery process did not quell his desire to serve others. The member for Herbert has worked tirelessly to promote mental wellbeing and suicide prevention. In 2018, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, an OAM, for his service to war veterans. Mr Thompson, I thank you for your service. I thank your wife, Jenna, and your two daughters, Astin and Emery, for continuing to share you as you serve the people of Herbert and Australia more broadly.
The more we understand the sacrifices made by ADF families, the better we can understand the importance of the many different ways we can better support them. Our words of support matter to our women and men in uniform, but even more vital is that we support them with the capability to do their job well. Australia needs that capability for all of us to be safe. Building that capability creates defence industry jobs—it’s a double win. The 211 new combat reconnaissance vehicles to be delivered through LAND 400 Phase 2 demonstrate well how the defence industry can deliver jobs, capability and improved safety for ADF members. This program will create 1,450 jobs across Australia. The Morrison government’s significant shipbuilding for the defence of Australia includes 12 submarines and 51 surface ships, creating at least 15,000 jobs for my former state of South Australia. This contrasts with Labor, which didn’t commission a single Australian-built ship.
Building on Australia’s defence capability is building our nation’s defence industry, including small business. The jobs that flow from building up Australia’s defence capability are not just from assembling ships, vehicles and other equipment but also from inputs such as Australian steel for the Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and, as I said before, uniforms for soldiers. One of the important roles for the offshore patrol vessels is securing our borders from the illegal arrivals that would recommence if Labor’s past weak border policies were implemented again. That weakness—that inability to commit to outcomes over virtue signalling—was disastrously enabling for the people smugglers. This resulted in over 50,000 illegal arrivals. There is nothing compassionate or virtuous about over 1,200 people dying at sea. Our defence capability has proved its value in securing our borders, supporting bushfire response and, can I say, in the current crisis. This is the much broader context of this capability, beyond the obvious military roles.
The Morrison government is determined that its $270 billion defence investment involves Australian businesses in all aspects of these important projects, including design, construction, project management and sustainment activities. The government has mandated that tenders must demonstrate how the maximisation of Australian defence industry capability will be achieved. We should all share that determination to create opportunities for Australian business. The opportunities are not just national; they are global. Fifty Australian companies are sharing $1.7 billion in contracts for the Joint Strike Fighter program, employing 2,400 people. The Morrison government will deliver the right capability for the women and men of the ADF, job creation through Australian business and the upskilling of the defence industry. The Morrison government is backing the Australian defence industry, especially the role of small and medium business in its success.