"Re-affirmation of the government's commitment to a continuous naval shipbuilding industry - based in Adelaide but with work spread across the country - along with a similar rolling program of local build of 12 new submarines makes considerable sense. As the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett recently said, this approach was a 'national endeavour that would bring a new industrial landscape'.
"Importantly, the Turnbull Government's plan provides a much-needed and necessary opportunity to grow a stable, long-term skilled naval build and sustainment workforce across the nation. This aims to overcome the 'stop start' program experience over the past 20 years which has seen a major reduction in this important strategic asset.
"The combination of acquisition of a new fleet of armoured vehicles under the Land 400 program to replace the existing ageing Army fleet will provide a fillip to hundreds of Australian SME companies involved in the supply chain of prime contractors in both assembly and maintenance support. This multi-billion dollar investment will offer work over more than two decades ensuring that the Australian Army is one of the best equipped in the world.
"The Royal Australian Air Force currently operating so effectively in the Middle East with multi-role, new generation platforms such as Wedgetail and KC-135 tanker transport aircraft will be further boosted by the arrival of 72 5th generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Hundreds of Australian companies support these capabilities.
"The announcement of the Defence Industry Policy Statement and accompanying Integrated Investment Program provides further welcome guidance to defence industry as it positions to upgrade and replace the ADF's existing stable of military equipment.
"Australia's defence industry is world-class, offering innovative solutions to thousands of engineering and technical challenges posed by the ADF. The emphasis given to building on this expertise through two new initiatives: the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and Defence Innovation Hub, at a cost of nearly $900 million over the next decade, is a positive for defence industry in this country.
"The combination of this suite of announcements recognises the Turnbull Government's considered, deliberate approach to the security requirements of the Australian nation and its strategic interests over the coming decades," Mr Willox said.
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