Combet denies new job would harm SA defence industry

Former federal minister Greg Combet has accepted a job lobbying for Victoria’s defence industry as the state awaits news on the Land 400 program contract.

As reported yesterday, Combet – a former Labor industry minister – accepted a role as Defence Industry Advocate for Victoria.

The decision came at a critical time for the SA auto industry, with Holden to end manufacturing next year. He denied the change in role would come at the expense of SA’s defence industry.

“I’m actually very committed to SA,” he told News Corp. “The states have an agreement to co-operate, rather than be in conflict, particularly in relation to the future submarines and naval frigates.

“Projects of this nature are a national endeavour. Essentially the task of the SA and Victorian governments is to work together to deliver projects … for the navy and the country.”

The new role begins in April for an initial 12-month period, paying $160,000 a year.

The SA Coalition opposition said the taskforce appointment, a part-time role paying $95,000  a year, was  "always about politics rather than achieving results”.

Bay 93.9 reports that the appointment comes as news on the Land 400 project is due soon. A shortlist on the $20 billion contract is expected by the end of the month.

Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus will soon host a Defence Procurement Office, and that Combet hopes “to visit Geelong regularly” in the new job.