The Australian government is investing almost $50 million in a Sunshine Coast company that will strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s deployable infrastructure capability and create 25 local jobs. Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said the contract signing with Queensland company Eniquest, based in Bells Creek, secured critical upgrades that would support Defence personnel while on operations. The $47.4 million contract is part of a wider $89 million investment in the ADF’s deployable infrastructure capability. A $41 million contract with NSW company Varley is expected to create another 80 jobs in the Hunter region.
The ADF uses deployable infrastructure for a range of operations, including during conflicts and disaster relief. The government’s investment will include upgrades to power generation, hygiene and essential catering, and the acquisition of new kennels for military working dogs.
“This investment will significantly upgrade capability and enhance the ADF’s ability to deploy rapidly on a wide range of operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, both domestically and internationally,” Dutton said. “We are committed to protecting our nation by equipping the ADF with modern capabilities to best meet future challenges. Sovereign defence manufacturing is a critical part of the Government’s commitment to keeping our region safe, while protecting our national and strategic interests in a rapidly changing global environment.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the government was focused on supporting investment in Australian industry capability. “Our contracts with Eniquest and Varley are critical to the delivery of these key systems to support our ADF,” Price said. “The acquisition and sustainment of these systems will create significant work for Australian businesses across the nation. I’m proud of the positive impacts that the $89 million acquisition investment in Australia’s defence capability is bringing to Australian industry. This investment highlights the broad and varied support that Australian industry can provide and guarantees the development of key industries in Australia into the future.”
Australian industry will contribute to the project management, systems engineering, manufacture, modification, technical documentation, logistics and training elements of the project, and local networks and distributors will be used for the supply of sub-systems and components.
The Federal Member for Fisher and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Andrew Wallace, welcomed the announcement as a significant development for the Sunshine Coast’s defence industry. “Since becoming the Federal Member for Fisher, I have worked hard to cultivate a local defence industry on the Sunshine Coast, particularly by connecting local manufacturers with the Federal Government’s $270 billion strategy to boost our defence industry and sovereign capability,” Wallace said. “I want the Sunshine Coast to reap the benefits of this historic investment. If COVID-19 showed us one thing, it’s that we need a more diverse industry base in our region to attract the kinds of high-skilled jobs this project creates. What Eniquest founder Don Pulver has achieved here is a remarkable Australian manufacturing success story. We have a Sunshine Coast employer supplying vital technology to our defence force and industry, creating more skilled jobs for Sunshine Coast residents. Manufacturers like Eniquest demonstrate the high-tech capabilities of Sunshine Coast businesses, which will continue to grow as our area becomes a hub for similar companies in the future.”
Eniquest is a Sunshine Coast based company that has become world-renowned for energy equipment in the defence, mining, and telecommunications industries.