Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 11 October officially opened Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, which will see hundreds of long-term jobs created for Queensland workers.

Rheinmetall will use the MILVEHCOE facility to build and assemble the majority of Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, which are being delivered to the Australian Army under the $5bn LAND 400 Phase 2 project. The facility will also be used to conduct integration, support and heavy grade repair for the logistics trucks and modules being delivered under the LAND 121 Phase 3B and 5B projects.

Morrison said the new defence industry facility in Redbank is part of the Economic Recovery Plan to create jobs as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to keeping Australians safe, while protecting the nation’s interests in a rapidly changing global environment,” said Morrison. “This week’s budget has seen the Federal Government bring forward $1bn worth of capability projects and reservist days to support jobs, the Australian defence industry and the wider economy.

“This Queensland centre will be where some of the most advanced armoured vehicles in the world will be produced, by Australian workers. The MILVEHCOE will create more than 450 long-term jobs and become a national asset for military vehicles.”

Morrison congratulated Rheinmetall Defence Australia for securing work to export at least 30 Lance Turrets from MILVEHCOE to Hungary.

“This is a significant export order, and a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to supporting Australian defence industry to achieve export success,” Morrison said. “We make things in Australia. We do it well. And this is an example of how we are continuing to make things in Australia. Defence is one of six priority areas under our $1.5bn Modern Manufacturing Strategy and is backed by measures from Tuesday’s budget.”

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the vehicles from MILVEHCOE represent a new level of capability for the Army.

“As outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, the Boxer will provide enhanced mobility, firepower, protection and situational awareness to our troops,” Reynolds said. ““I join the Prime Minister in congratulating Rheinmetall Defence Australia on securing new export opportunities. A resilient and internationally competitive defence industry is essential to Australia’s national security.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said MILVEHCOE represented a watershed in Defence self-reliance, backed by a secure domestic supply chain provided by home-grown Australian businesses.

“Australian industry will play a vital role delivering and sustaining key Australian defence capabilities at the facility,” said Price. “Rheinmetall will use suppliers across Australia to design, build, assemble, test and support the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles and training systems. The work at this facility is terrific news for Queensland workers and defence companies across the country.”