Ambitious plan seeks to turn Aus into major arms dealer

AUSTRALIA would become a major arms exporter and create more jobs in the multibillion-dollar defence industry under an ambitious plan to be released today.

Aerospace technician Michael Fraser from Ferra Engineering.
Aerospace technician Michael Fraser from Ferra Engineering. Renae Droop

The country would catapult into the world's top 10 defence exporters within a decade.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today unveil the plan, which will be the first ever national effort to expand the country's defence industry.

The strategy identifies markets in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand as the highest priority.

The focus will be on electronic equipment, military technology, military parts and components, target acquisition, range-finding, surveillance or tracking systems, and military software.

A new Australian Defence Export Office and a $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility will be established as part of the plan.

Mr Turnbull said the Government wanted to boost the country's defence technology industry, which already accounted for between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion every year.

"A strong, exporting defence industry in Australia will provide greater certainty of investment, support high-end manufacturing jobs and support the capability of the Australian Defence Force," Mr Turnbull said.

"It will complement the Turnbull Government's record $200 billion investment in Australian Defence Force capability, and continue Australia's record performance in job creation."

A number of Queensland companies are already involved in the lucrative defence exports industry, including Ferra Engineering which supplies weapon pylon kits to the US for Romeo helicopters worth about $6 million.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said the Defence Export Facility, which will be administered by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, would help exporters secure sales.

News Corp Australia

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