The Andrews Labor Government has grave fears that Malcolm Turnbull’s dumping of Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester paves the way for Victoria to be frozen out of the vitally important LAND 400 Phase Two defence contract.
While Victoria continues to be ignored by Malcolm Turnbull, the promotion of Queensland Liberal National MPs to Cabinet is ringing alarm bells.
The LAND 400 contract is crucial to our national interest and instead of being awarded on merit, it looks increasingly likely that it will go to Queensland as a naked pork barrelling exercise designed to help save Coalition seats at the next federal election.
Victoria’s manufacturing industry has long suffered at the hands of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, who ran our automotive industry out of town and sent defence contracts to South Australia, Western Australia and now the latest drone contracts to Queensland.
The LAND 400 contract will see the development of 225 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles to replace the current Australian Light Armoured Vehicle fleet – it’s worth around $5 billion and would create up to 2,000 manufacturing and supply chain jobs in Victoria.
Victoria already builds the Hawkei and Bushmaster and has a proven track record when it comes to military land vehicles through its expertise in engineering, design and technology, as well as strong research and development sectors.
Many suppliers that would potentially benefit from the Victorian bid are in the electorates of Corangamite, Wannon and Indi – they deserve to know that this contract will be awarded on merit.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis
“This project is too important to be the plaything of a Prime Minister desperate to save his political skin in Queensland.”
“This decision must be made in the national interest, not the rank political interests of Malcolm Turnbull.”
“While Malcolm Turnbull may have silenced Darren Chester, he won’t silence Victoria – we’ll continue to lobby for LAND 400 because we know that our state is best equipped to deliver the project.”