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Defence & Thales to negotiate munitions factories future

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on February 6 that Defence will enter into negotiations with Thales Australia, trading as Australian Munitions, for the continued management and operation of Australia’s munition factories in Benalla and Mulwala.

Minister Pyne said the Turnbull Government recognises the importance of the Defence- owned munitions factories that produce ammunition for the Australian Defence Force.

“With both facilities employing over 640 highly-skilled workers, this announcement provides certainty for workers that both factories will remain open for the long term”, he said.

“Under the existing contract, employment across the Benalla and Mulwala sites has increased by over 80 employees in 2017, generating vital job opportunities in regional Victoria and New South Wales.

“The Thales Australia supply chain includes 130 local small-to-medium enterprises, providing a wide range of goods and services to the Benalla and Mulwala sites,” he added. “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.

The future arrangement will also see underutilised areas of the facilities sub-leased as additional precincts to other munitions companies, subject to maintaining high safety and security standards, either where Defence identifies a requirement for a particular product, or where a commercial or export opportunity exists.