21 October 2011
The Federal Government is playing down claims the decision on a big defence contract a central Victorian manufacturer is in the running for will be delayed until after Christmas.
Thales Australia’s Bendigo plant is competing with two overseas companies to win the contract to build vehicles for the Australian Army.
The decision has been delayed several times and the head of the Defence Materiel Organisation indicated this week a judgment will not be made until next year.
However, Labor’s federal Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons, says he is confident the decision will come before Christmas.
“The last time I spoke to Minister Clare he gave me every indication that they are very, very close to a final recommendation being able to be put before the Cabinet and I’m confident that that will be done and there will be a decision prior to the end of 2011,” he said.
Victorian Nationals’ Senator Bridget McKenzie says Thales’ future depends on the contract and the Government must end the uncertainty.
“Well I’m glad Mr Gibbons is confident and I hope the uncertainty ends for everybody involved in this sorry tale,” she said.
“It’s a pity that the minister, if Mr Gibbons is so confident, it’s a pity that the Minister who is the one ultimately responsible for the decision can’t actually come out and give us a decision.”