In November 2018, then Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Industry Steve Ciobo announced a sod-turning on a new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Ipswich, Queensland.
FILE PHOTO: Boxer CRV in Wollongong. Photo by Brian Hartigan.
The pair said the MILVEHCOE represented a multi-million-dollar investment by Rheinmetall.
Wording of the ministerial press release ‘clearly’ indicated that this new facility was a Rheinmetall project, being built for and as part of that company’s commitment to build the majority of the new Boxer fleet in Australia.
Today, however, the now Minister for Defence Lynda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price issued a new press release that says “The first elements of the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) will be handed over to Rheinmetall Defence Australia in Queensland today” – and that “this is a next step in the Morrison Government’s over $5 billion investment in the Army’s armoured vehicle capability”.
So here’s my confusion – is MILVEHCOE a Rheinmetall build as part of their commitment to produce vehicles in Australia, or is it a Morrison Government build, handed over today by a magnanimous government?
Ministers Reynolds and Price sure seem intent on claiming all kudos for their own party.
The true fact is (I’m left to guess/interpret in the absence of clarity in ministerial writings) that the building is being handed over today from the construction contractor to its customer, Rheinmetall – with no government involvement or no requirement for government involvement outside of the opportunity for publicity (which is a legitimate thing – if the detail is clear).