A$1B to Accelerate Defence Initiatives In COVID-19 Recovery
(Source: Australian Prime Minister’s Office; issued August 26, 2020)
The [Australian] Government has announced a A$1 billion investment package to boost Australia’s defence industry and support thousands of jobs across the country.

The package is directed towards nationwide projects and jobs across Australia including:

-- Increasing the employment of ADF Reservists who have lost their civilian income, with an allocation of up to an extra 210,000 days, and the targeted recruitment of an additional 500 ADF Reservists;

-- Increasing employment opportunities for current and former ADF personnel and their families;

-- A $300 million national estate works program that will focus on regional areas (including bushfire affected regions), such as Jervis Bay & Eden, RAAF Bases East Sale, Pearce, Wagga and Amberley, the Albury Wodonga Military Area and Blamey Barracks;

-- Accelerating the sustainment of ADF platforms and capabilities, including the upgrade of Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, modernisation of ADF uniforms; and additional C-27J maintenance, which will engage ex-Qantas and Virgin technicians;

-- Bringing forward around $190 million of investment in approved infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory;

-- Increased funding for Defence innovation, industry grants, skilling and micro credentialing and cyber training for Defence industry; and

-- Accelerating important ADF capability development projects, targeting key manufacturing, construction and high-tech sectors.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package is estimated to support around 4,000 jobs across Australia and help many small and medium sized businesses in the defence-industry supply chain.

“Like much of the economy, our local defence industry is doing it tough because of COVID-19. This is especially so for small and medium sized businesses, that are critical to jobs,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“Supporting our defence industry is all part of our JobMaker plan – especially high-paying, high-skilled jobs that ensure we are supporting a robust, resilient and internationally competitive defence industry. We want to build our sovereign industrial capabilities and Australian workforce to keep our people safe.”

“We will also support our ADF members and families, particularly any Reservists who are doing it tough because of COVID-19.”

The announcement was made at Canberra-based company, DATAPOD (Australia), which has been awarded a two-year, $20 million contract.

The Australian owned company will provide Defence with portable, containerised data systems which can be rapidly deployed by sea, air or road. By bringing forward this acquisition, we will help to protect up to 27 direct and up to 80 supply chain jobs.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said supporting Australian defence industry is crucial to the economy’s recovery.

“Already we’ve fast-tracked a range of capability, infrastructure, skilling and workforce initiatives over the next two years. This includes rolling out a number of Defence estate works tenders as part of Defence’s economic stimulus initiative package, that will run over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Over $11 billion has already been provided in early payment for invoices and work to improve or sustain industry capacity for the delivery of critical supplies."

“We’re getting on with the job of delivering critical capability outcomes to Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as continuing to support our personnel, including ADF Reserve members.”

Defence will retain a great level of agility to phase and adjust expenditure of the initiatives to ensure they are affordable and remain suitable over the next two years.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said it’s now more important than ever to back Australian businesses and create more Australian jobs.

“We want to ensure defence industry continues to provide vital supply chains to develop and maintain defence capabilities, as we look at opportunities to accelerate projects across Australia,” Minister Price said.

“These projects will support and grow the 70,000-strong workforce in defence industry supply chains and those benefiting from our investment in defence.

“We are committed to supporting small and medium sized enterprises across Australian defence industry, with programs that will support regional areas, including bushfire affected communities.”

Further details of individual initiatives will be approved and announced shortly. Further information regarding Defence’s response to COVID-19 in supporting defence industry can be accessed at: https://www.defence.gov.au/covid-19/defence-industry/

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