Australia said it has welcomed the announcement by the Australian Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy of a $160 million contract to build new Bushmaster Protected Vehicles for the Australian Army. The contract for the new Bushmasters was signed at Thales Australia’s Bendigo facility in the presence of Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters who has been a strong advocate for manufacturing jobs in Bendigo.

Thales Australia CEO Jeff Connolly said the manufacture of new Bushmasters would directly support jobs at the Bendigo facility. “This is a strategic industrial capability that is vital for the Australian Defence Force. Today’s contract signing is an important expression of support from the Government, not just for the Bushmaster vehicle, but also for the manufacturing capability and Australian supply chain that produces and sustains the vehicles. Work will begin immediately on the new vehicles, with a mix of troop-carrying vehicles and Command vehicles to be manufactured over the next 18 months.

“More than 1200 Bushmasters have already been manufactured at our Bendigo facility and as well as proving to be a life-saving vehicle for the Australian Army in operations in the Middle East, they have been exported to eight nations including the Netherlands, UK, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand, Japan and Indonesia,” Connolly said. “Bushmasters gifted to Ukraine by the Australian Government are currently in service in Ukraine and providing a vital capability to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they fight the illegal Russian invasion. In addition to our direct employment on site in Bendigo, the manufacture of Protected Vehicles supports around 360 jobs in our Australian supply chain with many suppliers across regional areas of Victoria and New South Wales.”

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