The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is opening negotiations with Thales Australia over its continued management and operation of Australia’s munition factories in Victoria and New South Wales.
The announcement made by Defence Industry minister Christopher Pyne claims to provide long-term certainty for more than 640 highly-skilled workers based at factories in Benalla and Mulwala.
Employment at the munitions plants grew by 80 works during 2017, with Thales’ supply chain reaching 130 small-to-medium businesses.
“The negotiations with Thales will see a new strategic arrangement for the management and operation of the factories, improving price competitiveness and increasing export potential for Australian-manufactured ammunition and explosive products,” Pyne said.
“This long-term, performance-based arrangement will provide a greater degree of certainty for Thales as the principal tenant and operator of the facilities and will enable seamless transition from the current contract when it expires in mid-2020.”
The 1,030-hectare Mulwala factory is the only remaining manufacturing site for propellants and high explosives in Australia.
“Drawing on the depth of engineering and manufacturing skills resident in these factories, the decision to commence negotiations with Thales builds on the well-established relationship between Thales and Defence,” Pyne added.