Premier Anna Bligh today backed a bid by Brisbane-based Australian Aerospace for a lucrative Australian Navy Contract that would create hundreds of Queensland jobs.
The Federal Government currently is considering two rival bids to provide Australia's new naval combat helicopter under the Air9000 Phase 8 tender - one from Brisbane-based Australian Aerospace who would assemble their helicopter in Queensland, the other an overseas firm.
"We don't want to see local jobs lost overseas," the Premier said.
"The choice of Australian Aerospace's NFH as the Navy's new combat helicopter would create more than 250 full-time, highly-skilled jobs in Queensland and another 250 across Australia.
"It will also deliver another 250 indirect jobs in the industry.
"That's why today I wrote to the Federal Defence Minister to ask him to consider what this contract would mean for Queensland.
Ms Bligh said the Queensland Government's support for the aerospace sector had not only seen the growth of a new industry in the State, but had seen the creation of new jobs and new investment.
"In the past 10 years we have created 16,500 aviation, aerospace and defence jobs across Queensland on projects from aircraft design, manufacture, maintenance, modification, repair and overhaul; to emerging technologies and defence.
"Through the strong commitment of this Government, Queensland already is the hub of the Australian aerospace industry.
"Queensland is now home to approximately 30 per cent of Australia's aviation and aerospace companies and these firms employ around 25 per cent of Australia's workforce.
"We want to make sure the momentum and jobs we have created is continued long into the future," the Premier said.
Hosting the Premier's tour of the facility, Australian Aerospace Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jens Goennemann, paid tribute to the Queensland Government's vital role in developing the aerospace industry.
"Australian Aerospace is delighted to have such a successful and longstanding partnership with the Queensland Government," Dr Goennemann said.
"Over the decade our production plant has been in Brisbane, we have received outstanding support.
"The partnership the State Government offered was crucial in the decision to locate the production plant in Brisbane.
"Since then, we have been assembling two of the world's most advanced military helicopters for the Australian Defence Force - the ARH Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter and the MRH90 multi-role helicopter.
"Already, through these programs, Australian Aerospace has created close to 1100 jobs," he said.
"The highly-regarded economic analyst Access Economics estimates that assembling the NFH in Brisbane would increase Australia's Gross Domestic Product by about $661 million - again, mostly in Queensland - over the next 13 years.
"Australian Aerospace is the only local helicopter assembler. All other helicopters are built overseas," Dr Goennemann said.
"A decision to buy the NFH for the RAN can only mean one thing for Queensland - jobs, jobs and more jobs."
About Australian Aerospace:
Australian Aerospace Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter - a part of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Group (EADS). Created in 2003 through the merger of Eurocopter International Pacific Limited and Australian Aerospace Pty Ltd, the company has evolved into a major defence supplier to the Australian Government. With more than 1000 staff in Australia and New Zealand and access to the financial strength and expertise of Eurocopter and the EADS Group, the company is well-positioned to manufacture and support civil and military helicopters in the Australia-Pacific region. In addition to its helicopter capabilities, Australian Aerospace has a long history of support to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Currently it is assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 multi-role helicopters to the Army and Navy. It also provides support for the RAAF AP3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and, until recently, the now retired Caribou transport fleet. Last year it commenced a through-life-support role for C-130J Hercules transports. The company is also involved in supporting the RAAF’s new Airbus A330-based Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) aircraft.
Nathan Pick – Australian Aerospace (07) 3637 3906 / 0438 676 909
Ted Porter – Australian Aerospace (02) 9436 0200 / 0418 468 269