The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie together with the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel, Gary Humphries have gained a greater insight into the important role Bendigo plays in protecting Australian troops and emergency personnel.
“It was wonderful to have Senator Humphries tour Bendigo’s key defence manufacturing sites, highlighting the capacity for innovation that we have here,” Senator McKenzie said.
Senator Humphries said recent deep cuts to Australia’s Defence Acquisition Budget have put pressure on the industry.
“The Australian Government has got to provide certainty in what and where it buys defence products, and to keep investment alive in communities like Bendigo.”
The Senators toured Thales, where they inspected the fabrication workshop and robotic welding line.
Thales’ Gary Dawson told the Senators the company was proud of its capabilities in Bendigo.
“We are delivering lifesaving Bushmaster vehicles to Australian troops in Afghanistan, and now developing the Hawkei vehicle for the future.”
The Senators then toured the Australian Defence Apparel site, where they inspected the production line of the new hard armour plates and sowing factory.
ADA General Manager Nigel Whelan said the company had a bright future in regional Victoria.
“The focus is on continued product development to assist in the diversification of the business.
“Over the next five years, the development of the armour facility will create approximately 40 new jobs in Bendigo, with 80 per cent of the product to be exported.”
Senator McKenzie said Senator Humphries’ visit to the ADA and Thales sites highlighted the Coalition’s commitment to regional Australia.