Union pushes Thales to maximise local content in military vehicles

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) wants Thales Australia to ensure that most components in its Hawkei military vehicles, to be made in Victoria, are also made locally.

The Government announced earlier this month that Thales has been awarded a $1.3 billion contract to build 1,100 of the vehicles. As a result, 170 skilled workers will be required at the company’s Bendigo facility.

AMWU State Secretary Steve Dargavel welcomed the announcement but added – “But now the Government needs to come clean about the amount of local content involved in the project. We have the capacity to supply the content locally, we just need the Government to provide that certainty to the supply chain and the workers across the whole State.”

Dargavel and other senior AMWU officials have met Thales management over the extent of locally manufactured content for the new vehicle which is unlikely to match the high level in the Bushmaster vehicles, which are currently made at the Bendigo facility.

The two sub frames and a protection cell kit will be fabricated at Bendigo but there is concern the level of local content may not climb beyond 50 per cent, with much of the inner passenger shell to be imported.

The AMWU also wants to know whether 1000 trailers and trays for the Hawkei will be fabricated locally or be imported.

“The Bendigo facility and other manufacturing facilities in regional Victoria have the skills and capability to fabricate all those trailers and trays. The Coalition Government must ensure that happens locally, rather than allowing Thales to import the lot, which looks a distinct possibility,” Dargavel said.