The Albanese Labor Government has confirmed today it will make savage cuts to Geelong’s local defence industry, costing jobs and the longer term viability of defence manufacturing across the region.
Senator Sarah Henderson said the cancellation of the $1 billion Phase 2 Howitzer defence project was a very dark day for Geelong and regional Victoria.
“The cancellation of Phase 2 of the Howitzer defence project halves the number of self-propelled howitzer guns, from 60 to 30, and ammunition resupply vehicles, from 30 to 15, to be manufactured by Hanwha Defense Australia and local industry at Avalon Airport,” Senator Henderson said.
“This has been announced with no consultation or consideration of the profound uncertainty this creates for defence industry and our sovereign manufacturing capability,” Senator Henderson said.
“In stripping $1 billion of investment from our region, the Albanese government and Corio MP, Richard Marles, have broken Geelong’s heart,” Senator Henderson said.
“This is a very dark day for Geelong and regional Victoria. Once again, Mr Marles has turned his back on working families and the local jobs on which they so depend,” Senator Henderson said.
“Contrast this terrible news with the former Coalition government which worked so hard to deliver for our region, whether it be vital defence projects, major road and rail upgrades or the Geelong City Deal,” Senator Henderson said.
In what represents very deep cuts to Army, the number of infantry fighting vehicles under Land 400 Phase 3, for which Hanwha is bidding in a tender that is months overdue, has also been dramatically cut.
Incredibly, Mr Marles as the responsible minister has failed to secure any increase in the defence budget. While the government is continuing with AUKUS initiated by the Coalition, it is now clear that Labor’s Defence Strategic Review is all about cost shifting, funding cuts, the delaying of a national defence strategy and cannibalising defence capability.