Brisbane-based Australian Aerospace’s bid for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) lucrative Air 9000 Phase 8 naval helicopter program has received the backing of Queensland premier Anna Bligh.
“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,” Bligh said in a statement.
“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.
“We don’t want to see local jobs lost overseas.”
Bligh also claimed that Queensland was “home to approximately 30 per cent of Australia’s aviation and aerospace companies”, with those firms employing “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.
Australian Aerospace CEO, Dr Jens Goennemann, praised the Queensland government’s “outstanding” support for Australian Aerospace’s production plant since its inception ten years ago. Since then, the plant has been assembling the Army’s new ARH Tiger and MRH 90 helicopters. “Already, through these programs, Australian Aerospace has created close to 1100 jobs,” Goennemann 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.”