Army uniform contract a “betrayal” of Australian jobs: Mirabella

Opposition industry minister Sophie Mirabella has vowed to fight for Wangaratta’s Bruck Textiles, calling a recent decision to award a $20 million Australian Army contract to an overseas competitor a “betrayal” of Australian manufacturers.

Mirabella, visiting Bruck with former treasurer Peter Costello, was critical of the August 20 signing of a five-year deal to supply camouflage jackets to the Army.

The definition of combat uniform changed in 2010 to mean shirt and trousers, said Mirabella, with the rest of the uniform not having to be made in Australia.

“It defies logic you can have the shirt and pants, and not the jackets,” said Mirabella, according to the Border Mail.

She explained that the contract was, “A priority for us and if we win the election, we’ll have a complete look at the books and find out how badly this government has de-invested in defence.”

Bruck has been operating since 1946, and employs about 300 people.

Mirabella is likely to be the next industry minister, with polls pointing to a change of government at the September 7 election.

Meanwhile, it’s being reported that there are concerns about the safety of Mirabella’s seat of Indi.

Mirabella holds Indi by a margin of nine per cent, but a Nationals-backed independent challenger, Cathy McGowan, has run an effective campaign, according to The Australian, and there is a chance the contest would be close.