Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien (left) and Rheinmetall Defence head of sales Simon Coburn spruik the features of a Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle in the Maroochydore Surf Club car park.
Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien (left) and Rheinmetall Defence head of sales Simon Coburn spruik the features of a Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle in the Maroochydore Surf Club car park. Patrick Woods

Coast businesses tune in for $5 billion contract

COAST businessman Denver Vidler believes he has the right product to get a slice of a possible $5 billion defence contract.

The managing director of Rosemount firm Nybro was in Maroochydore on Friday to see a new war machine roll into the surf club car park.

He was among about 70 fellow manufacturers and other interested parties who were briefed by global firm Rheinmetall Defence about its plans to include Queensland businesses in building and servicing 225 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles.

Rheinmetall Defence is one of two companies vying for the Department of Defence's Land 400 Phase Two contract to replace its current fleet of land vehicles.

The other contender, BAE Systems Australia, is believed to want to base its operations from Victoria.

 

A Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle is parked in Maroochydore Surf Club car park during a tour of regional Queensland.
A Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle is parked in Maroochydore Surf Club car park during a tour of regional Queensland. Patrick Woods

Mr Vidler said his company's expertise was in specialist air filters, which he believed could be useful in the decades of servicing contracts that would come with the new vehicles.

A lot of his current products are exported to companies around the world.

"It will be interesting to see if we can show our product to be beneficial," Mr Vidler said.

He said involvement with Rheinmetall could bring further contracts within the defence industry.

"It possibly could give us that leverage or edge."

Rheinmetall Defence business development general manager Tim Pickford said the company wanted to mentor potential local manufacturers on how get into defence supply.

Mr Pickford said his company's tour of Queensland was to showcase what was possible for the manufacture of defence systems and the pathways to begin involved.

"Rheinmetall is really about building a really viable future here in Queensland and here in Australia for the production of not only this vehicle but some of our real, key technologies," Mr Pickford said.

"The company has been really impressed with the levels of manufacturing skill sets, technology and the interest in the vehicle.

"What we want to do is build on that, take it further and for the next 30 to 40 years, team with Queensland for the creation of jobs and an export industry."

Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said there was great opportunity for the Sunshine Coast economy if Rheinmetall was to win the contract.

"We want to make sure the Sunshine Coast gets its bit," Mr O'Brien said.


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