EXCITING: Minister for Defence Marise Payne (centre) with Senator Joanna Lindgren (left) and LNP candidate for Blair Teresa Harding overlooking the proposed site for an Amberley Defence Support Centre.
EXCITING: Minister for Defence Marise Payne (centre) with Senator Joanna Lindgren (left) and LNP candidate for Blair Teresa Harding overlooking the proposed site for an Amberley Defence Support Centre. David Nielsen

Air Force project will create 3500 civilian jobs

AN AMBERLEY Defence Support Centre independently estimated at bringing $500m per year and creating 3500 jobs is in the works for Ipswich.

In a letter to Defence Minister Marise Payne, Senator for Queensland James McGrath said the defence industry centre would "deliver economic and operational benefits to Defence with support industry being located in close proximity to defence operations rather than in less appropriate locations such as Brisbane Airport".

The centre, planned to be located on government owned land near the BP at Purga, has been front and centre of the agenda of Ipswich City Council and the Queensland Government since 2005.

The state bought three parcels of Commonwealth land in the area in 2012 to develop a defence precinct and in his letter Senator McGrath said it was resolved by the state that "the development of the land for defence related purposes should be driven by the private sector and to that end, the State Government has entered into a contract to sell over 100ha of their land to Amberley Logistics, on the condition it is used for that project".

Senator Payne visited the site at Purga with LNP candidate for Blair Teresa Harding yesterday, along with RAAF Base Amberley, and hailed "the opportunities here to encourage defence oriented industry to see this as an ideal area to base and work".

Senator Payne said the defence industry policy statement was her 'bible' because it was "such a powerful statement about our engagement with Australian industry".

"I know this is a pretty go ahead part of south-east Queensland and I think there is enormous potential here," she said.

"With the new technology that will come with the Growlers, I want to be able to say to Australian industry 'come and talk to Defence and be part of what we are doing and we will also come and talk to you'.

"We want to make sure that the opportunities are there for us to partner with industry who want to work closely here at Amberley."

Senator Payne said the "opportunities were limitless" for the variety of defence industries which could be located in Ipswich.

All of those opportunities will complement the expansion of Amberley that will occur over the next decade.

"Over the 10 years to 2025-26 there is an $850m investment and that is a very significant undertaking for a base which currently supports 5700 people and which will increase to about 7000," Senator Payne said.

"That brings…business and action in the economy as part of that process.

"We've got some really important work going to happen at Amberley.

"We've got some significant capability coming in here in terms of the different and new aircraft varieties…and we want to make sure we do that well.":

Ms Harding said the planned Amberley Defence Support Centre was an economic boost to Ipswich of stellar proportions.

"If it was to proceed I would imagine it would go to tender and there is a lot of interest in the market place to leverage off the base and take it from there," she said.

"The economic modelling shows it could employ up to 3500 people and create $500m in economic value every year.

"This would be a way the defence industry could really support the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO).

"I really want to attract defence industry businesses out here."

The Defence White Paper released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Senator Payne unveiled the increase of $29.9 billion in defence spending over the next decade with the goal of making the Australian Defence Force (ADF) more capable, agile and potent.



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