BUILD IT: Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Rheinmetall Defence managing director Gary Stewart get up close with a Boxer CRV in September, 2017.
BUILD IT: Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Rheinmetall Defence managing director Gary Stewart get up close with a Boxer CRV in September, 2017. Rob Williams

Ipswich's last-minute appeal for $5b defence contract

A LAST-DITCH attempt to secure a lucrative defence contract has been started by Ipswich politicians.

The Department of Defence is expected to soon decide whether Rheinmetall Defence Australia or BAE will be awarded the $5billion Land 400 contract.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia has promised to build the combat reconnaissance vehicles at Redbank if it is successful, while BAE is believed to lean towards manufacturing in Victoria.

With the contract expected to provide about 30 years of work for local manufacturers, Ipswich's political leaders have launched the final call for the Government to choose Rheinmetall.

Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said the defence contract would provide a jobs and economic boost to the region.

"To have a company like Rheinmetall based in southeast Queensland would be great," he said.

"We're hopeful we'll get a favourable outcome."

At Parliament question time this week, the Member for Indi, Independent Cathy McGowan, asked Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne to support Victoria's bid for the contract.

She questioned: "Will you please commit to continuing support of the growth of the existing defence industry in Indi, including the BAE Systems' bid for Land 400?"

Mr Pyne deflected the question.

"It's a nice try from the Member for Indi to get me to talk about a tender, which is close to completion," he said.

"I will avoid breaking the tender, particularly at this late stage."

Sitting across the chamber, the Federal Member for Blair, Ipswich's Shayne Neumann, disagreed.

"I like Cathy, but she's wrong on that one," he told the QT.

Mr Neumann said Rheinmetall was a superior tender.

"We're talking about hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in investment," he said.

"I think it will be a great outcome for Ipswich.

"The Rheinmetall option is a lot better in term of operational aspects, protection of our service personnel and fire power."

He said the tender would provide opportunity for apprenticeships and long-time careers for people.



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