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May 2018: Watpac to deliver military vehicle manufacturing facility in Ipswich

Watpac has been appointed managing contractor to build the $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) for Rheinmetall Defence Australia at Redbank, in Ipswich, supporting 300 jobs a year over two years.

Watpac is well-placed to deliver the MILVEHCOE and has demonstrated through past projects its commitment to engaging with local trades and suppliers, and will harness the highly skilled local construction workforce from Ipswich and across South East Queensland.

The MILVEHCOE will be Rheinmetall’s largest presence outside of Germany, and its location in the Redbank Motorway Estate will position Rheinmetall in the heart of the largest vehicle manufacturing and sustainment hub in Australia.

The Queensland Government has expertise in the delivery of large and complex capital works projects, including the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venue infrastructure program, and is using this expertise to oversee the construction of the MILVEHCOE on Rheinmetall’s behalf.

Progress is already well underway – GHD will finalise the facility design in association with Watpac, and the development application has been approved.

Indicative dates for the construction program are:

  • commencement of site bulk earth works - mid 2018
  • commencement of construction - late 2018
  • practical completion of construction - late 2020.

While the construction of the MILVEHCOE is progressing, the first 25 vehicles will be manufactured overseas to enable the transfer of the Germany technology to Rheinmetall’s Queensland workforce. These vehicles will have their systems integration completed in Australia and will provide Army with a much earlier than expected capability.

March 2018: Rheinmetall wins LAND 400 Phase 2 contract

In an historic moment for Queensland, on 14 March 2018, the Australian Government announced Rheinmetall Defence Australia as the successful tenderer for the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 Department of Defence contract.

Rheinmetall will establish its Australia-New Zealand Headquarters and Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in South East Queensland. This heralds the beginning of a new military vehicle manufacturing industry for the state, and confirms Queensland’s reputation as Australia’s front line for defence industries.

The LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to deliver the next generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australian Army is a catalytic project that will create opportunities for local industry for many decades to come. Rheinmetall estimates the project will support 450 jobs for Queenslanders and generate $1 billion for the state economy.

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February 2018: SMEs gather in South East Queensland

On 2 February 2018, business leaders from over 30 SMEs gathered at Hilton Manufacturing’s Wacol facility for an industry event. Attendees heard first-hand from Gary Stewart, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia, the long-term vision for the proposed Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence to create an enduring sovereign capability for military vehicles, and opportunities for its Australia-wide supply chain to benefit from global export opportunities.

Companies from across Australia attended the industry briefing at Hilton Manufacturing

Minister Cameron Dick with Gary Stewart, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Todd Hartley, Managing Director of Hilton Manufacturing

January 2018: Victoria Cross winner’s support for Boxer

Ben Roberts-Smith, Victoria Cross winner and ones of Australia’s most highly-decorated veterans, has publicly championed Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV as the best option for the Australian Army due to its higher levels of protection.

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October 2017: Rheinmetall’s Boxer Queensland tour

In support of its LAND 400 Phase 2 bid and potential future projects, Rheinmetall hosted nine industry briefings for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Queensland during September and October 2017.

Rheinmetall engaged with 292 attendees from 211 SMEs during these industry briefings, sharing the long-term vision for its proposed MILVEHCOE and showcasing the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle’s capabilities. SMEs also learnt more about Rheinmetall’s $80 million Technology and Product Development Fund, which is part of its Australian Industry Capability program.

July 2017: Rheinmetall’s Queensland selection

In July 2017, Rheinmetall announced it had selected Queensland as the preferred location for its Australia-New Zealand Headquarters and Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE), if it is the successful bidder in the LAND 400 Phase 2 tender process.

This long-term partnership between the Queensland Government and Rheinmetall would establish a new military vehicle advanced manufacturing industry for the state. Rheinmetall intends for the MILVEHCOE to not only be the manufacturing facility for the 225 Boxer CRVs under LAND 400 Phase 2, but to also support its other military vehicle projects across Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region. This outcome would firmly position Queensland as the Asia Pacific hub for military and heavy vehicle manufacture and sustainment, and as Australia’s home for land defence projects.

Rheinmetall expects that the MILVEHCOE and its impact across Queensland’s supply chain would generate at least 450 full-time equivalent jobs over the first 10 years of its operation, and contribute more than $1 billion to the Queensland economy.

Additionally, with a third of the operational vehicles to be based at Lavarack Barracks, the Australian Army base in Townsville, for the next 30 years, this will likely present opportunities for the local regional industry to benefit. This will complement the rapidly expanding defence industry capability in the area that supports the large and growing Army presence in North Queensland.