The Australian government is taking a new approach to the long-term tenancy arrangements at the munitions facility in Benalla, Victoria, which will deliver up to 100 new jobs.
Defence will enter into collaborative negotiations early this year with Australian company NIOA to establish a second long-term tenancy alongside Thales Australia trading as Australian Munitions.
On January 23, minister for defence, Christopher Pyne, said the arrangement will be the first time since the facility was established in the early 1990s that other munitions manufacturers will operate at Benalla.
This will bring the facility into line with international best practice, create jobs in regional Victoria, deliver better utilisation of the facilities and launch a new era for ammunition manufacture for the ADF and for export opportunities, he said.
“The expected long-term tenancy at Benalla from July 1, 2020 will be further discussed in parallel with negotiations already underway between the commonwealth and Thales to continue their current responsibilities at Benalla munitions facility,” said Pyne.
Once implemented, the NIOA tenancy is expected to deliver up to 100 new highly sophisticated, advanced manufacturing jobs over the next decade. The new approach will also deliver better outcomes for defence and Australian Defence Industry.
NIOA’s work in Benalla will further build on their work supplying ammunition to defence, and leverage their partnerships with some of the world’s leading munitions companies.
Pyne said munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture had recently been identified as a sovereign industrial capability priority by defence.
“The NIOA tenancy will strengthen and diversify sovereign capability while also ensuring increased use of the government factories at Benalla, providing more munitions supply options for Defence,” said Pyne.
“I look forward to NIOA producing and exporting munitions from Benalla to our friends and allies.
“This announcement will provide increased security of employment for the staff at the government factories at Benalla and ensure the facilities’ ongoing financial viability for the next generation,” he said.