Doorstop, RAAF Base Amberley, Qld

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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10 January 2024

SUBJECTS: Investment in RAAF Base Amberley; local QLD jobs.

SHAYNE NEUMANN, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR: I'm Shayne Neumann the Federal Member for Blair. I'm really pleased to have my good friend, Matt Thistlethwaite the Assistant Minister for Defence at RAAF Base Amberley. This is by no means Matt’s first visit here. I've been to the base a number of times with Matt since he’s got that role. You've got a great announcement for our local region in Southeast Queensland. And it builds on the fantastic announcement over the weekend of $600 million, on the extension of the Boeing Defence Australia contract. That's $350 million, 350 jobs rather, in this region that’s being sustained and supported till 2030.

The extension of that contract, all the work that's done, the maintenance repairs, upgrading the logistics, for the Growlers and the Super Hornets, which are important part of the base here and for the defence of our country. They’re much beloved the Growlers and the Super Hornets, after the F-111’s were a generational change for our Defence Force and a great beloved platform in Ipswich and the Westport region. So I'm very pleased that Matt’s come here today. This announcement is another great step in the commitment demonstrated by the Albanese Labor Government to make sure that our region can get the jobs, get the contracts and development we need. And another commitment from the RAAF Base here in Amberley, and I’m happy to hand over to Matt.

MATT THISTLETHWAITE, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Thanks Shayne. Thanks for welcoming me back to RAAF Base Amberley. No one knows Defence and Veterans Affairs better than Shayne Neumann. He's a great advocate for the Australian Defence Force, the perfect representative for the community around this place.

The Albanese Government is investing in upgrading infrastructure facilities, at our defence bases to ensure the Australian Defence Force is modern, efficient, and ready for duty. And we're announcing today a $4 million investment in the upgrade of important facilities here at RAAF Base Amberley. They include the external fuel tank maintenance facility, and upgrades to important electrical and communications infrastructure.

This $4 million investment will be in partnership with local businesses that will create about 100 jobs in the local community. And it's one of 65 projects that is being undertaken by the government and Defence in every state and territory across the country, to make sure that the Australian Defence Force is fit for purpose and ready for duty. This is a $356 million investment and a partnership with Australian industry to deliver better defence capability and better facilities for our Australian Defence Force members across the country.

As Shayne mentioned, it comes on the back of the announcement that the Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy made on the weekend, that we will extend the contract between this Australian Defence Force and Boeing out to 2030 by another five years. That’s a further $600 million dollar investment in important maintenance work for the Growlers and the Hornets and that will take place right here on this base. It will support about 350 jobs. They're not just any jobs, they are high skill, high tech jobs in the local economy. And they're the sort of investments that we need to be making in Defence into the future.

But I also want to pay tribute to and thank the members of the Australian Defence Force who've been involved in recovery and cleanup work in the wake of natural disasters in Queensland, particularly those 50 or so personnel who are finishing their duty today in Logan and on the Gold Coast. And when we're finishing here, I'm going down to visit some of those veterans and to thank them for their work.

But as one natural disaster work concludes, another one is starting and yesterday, the Queensland Disaster Recovery Agency requested the Australian Defence Force be deployed to Far North Queensland to assist with recovery and the bringing in of infrastructure for isolated communities that are still feeling the effects of the cyclone in the north and the flooding associated with that. So today there are a number of Australian Defence Force planners in that region that are working on what is required to provide that road moving capacity and the trips that will be involved in airlifting infrastructure and supplies into isolated communities to ensure that they have the support that they need to recover from the natural disasters.

On behalf of the government, I'd like to thank the members of the Australian Defence Force and members of Disaster Relief Australia for the great job that they're doing in assisting Queensland communities recover from these natural disasters. We're happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: How important is this announcement for the local community? And if I can get you both to answer that.

ASSISTANT MINISTER: It's a really important announcement for the local community because this is a partnership between the Australian Defence Force and local businesses. It will create about 100 jobs in the local community, construction jobs, engineering jobs, security jobs, and planning jobs, high skill, high tech jobs in the local community, a great investment by the government in better facilities for our Australian Defence Force and a great investment in local jobs and this community.

NEUMANN: Yeah, the people who work on the base live in our community. So they play in our sporting teams, they worship in our faith based institutions, they shop in our shopping centres, their kids go to our schools. So this is really important for our local region. I can't stress enough how the Defence industry, Boeing, and a whole bunch of organisations that we have here at Amberley are connected to the community. So we've already seen that in some of the constructions that we've looked at today, we've had almost exclusively local tradies from the region and South East Queensland working on these projects. So this is really critical to maintain jobs, and support jobs. A place where there's one in seven people in this country who live here in South East Queensland. So this is really good.


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