The signing today of a $1 billion dollar defence contract with Hanwha Defense Australia, at a special announcement in Canberra with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Korean President Moon Jae-in, marks an incredible day for Geelong.
Under the initial contract, Hanwha will deliver 30 self-propelled Howitzers to the Australian Army along with 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles and weapon locating radars.
An Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence will be built in the Geelong region for the construction, acquisition and maintenance of these state-of-the-art defence vehicles, with works on the manufacturing facility to commence in 2022.
Not only will this project create more than 300 defence manufacturing jobs, it will generate export and ongoing defence support opportunities for Australian industry until the late 2040s.
This project is testament to our government’s commitment to Australian defence industry and sovereign manufacturing as well as nation’s defence capability.
The Morrison Government’s May 2019 election commitment to the Howitzer defence project, which included establishing the project in the Geelong region for which I fought so hard, was never matched by Labor. For two and a half years, federal Labor MPs Libby Coker and Richard Marles have steadfastly refused to secure a matching commitment from Labor, turning their back on this $1 billion investment for our region. Mr Marles and Ms Coker have once again failed manufacturing workers and our region; and they simply don’t deserve the support of the people of Geelong at the next federal election.
In 2012, the then Labor federal government cancelled the Howitzer project as part of a large cut in defence spending. Labor’s entrenched and reckless opposition to the Howitzer defence project means hundreds of manufacturing jobs and a $1 billion investment in Geelong would be at risk if ever Labor and Anthony Albanese were elected.
13 December 2021