A $1 billion Defence package to include upgrades at RAAF Base, East Sale

UPDATES at RAAF Base, East Sale, have been included in a $1 billion package to boost Australia’s defence industry and, the federal government says, “support thousands of jobs across the country”.

The package is directed towards nationwide projects and jobs across Australia, with $300 million for a national estate works program focusing on regional areas, including works at East Sale.

The estate works program provides facilities maintenance projects aimed at restoring or sustaining capability and addressing safety and compliance requirements of facilities and infrastructure.

There will be an increase in the employment of AD F Reservists who have lost their civilian incomes, with an allocation of up to an extra 210,000 days, and the targeted recruitment of an additional 500 AD F Reservists.

There will also be more employment opportunities for current and former ADF personnel and their families.

The government will accelerate the sustainment of AD F platforms and capabilities, including the upgrade of Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, modernisation of AD F uniforms and additional C-27J maintenance.

Funding will be increased for Defence innovation, industry grants, skilling and micro credentialling and cyber training for Defence industry, and important AD F capability development projects will be accelerated, targeting key manufacturing, construction and high-tech sectors.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package was estimated to support about 4000 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,” he 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.”

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said supporting Australian defence industry was 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,” she said.

“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.

“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 AD F Reserve members.”