Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said a Council-Defence Industry Strategy Workshop will only help strengthen one of the region’s growing sectors.
Cr Antoniolli, Economic Development and Digital City Committee Chairman Cr Paul Tully and Acting CEO Gary Kellar hosted representatives from the Australian Defence Force, Federal, State and Local Governments, universities, defence firms and industry specialists in this ground-breaking event yesterday.
“This was an excellent opportunity to have key stakeholders in the one room, working towards the common goal of positioning Ipswich as a true Defence Industry advocate,” the Mayor said.
“As our Defence footprint continues to grow, it’s the perfect time to move forward as one to maximise all opportunities.”
Cr Antoniolli said Defence directly contributed to more than 5000 jobs and almost $100 million to the Ipswich economy in 2016-17.
“Defence is a key industry for the City of Ipswich. The region hosts Australia’s largest operational Air Force Base, Amberley, with substantial space for development to accommodate further Defence activity.
“Ipswich is also the second largest destination for Defence Primes to locate in Queensland after Brisbane, and has a great eco system with capable defence industry, locations and research organisations to cater for current and future growth for the city and state.
“Defence’s presence and activity in Ipswich stimulates economic activity across defence industries in the region and state, and across other industries along the supply chain.”
Council’s Office of Economic Development has recognised the Defence sector as an emerging powerhouse in the region in terms of jobs and financial growth.
Cr Antoniolli welcomed recent announcements from Canberra, including that an additional 2800 jobs will be added at Amberley by 2020 and the huge flow-on effect with Defence personnel and their families living and spending money in Ipswich.
“I am very encouraged to see support from the Federal and State Government in terms of Defence spending. We remain hopeful that this will continue, in particular by awarding the $5 billion contract to Rheinmetall in early 2018 so it can establish a military vehicle centre of excellence in Ipswich to build the nation’s newest fleet of armoured vehicles,” he said.
Cr Tully said Defence activity contributed about 3 per cent of Gross Regional Product and almost 4 per cent of all jobs in the Ipswich region.
“The City adopts a unique Triple Helix approach, through its City of Ipswich Defence Industry Attraction Committee (CIDIAC), which is a partnership between Industry, Government and Universities, to guide the development of robust and sustainable defence industry for the region which will contribute to economic growth for Ipswich and Queensland,” he said.
“The members of the CIDIAC and key stakeholders will have taken a lot of positives out of attending the City of Ipswich Defence Industry Workshop in Ipswich on Monday. This workshop is one of the major activities in Defence Industry capability and attraction work for the city.”