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Bendigo production an economic success story

29 September 2009

Thales Australia's new Hawkei is the latest innovation from a business that has delivered highly successful Protected Mobility Vehicles to the Australian Defence Force and armies around the world over the past decade.

The performance of the Thales Australia Bushmaster on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is an Australian success story for the Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force.

It is also an economic success story for Australian industry, creating jobs and investment while bringing significant direct and indirect economic benefits to Bendigo, Victoria and the country as a whole.

The Bushmaster production facility in Bendigo employs more than 300 people directly and supports hundreds more Australian jobs indirectly through a supply chain that extends from Bendigo through Victoria to NSW and Queensland.

The supply chain comprises around 120 Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with more than 100 based in Victoria and 30 in the Bendigo area. The Bushmaster itself contains 65% Australian content, generating long term revenues for a wide range of local component manufacturers.

This revenue stream has been boosted by exports - 86 vehicles sold to the Netherlands complementing the ADF's 736 vehicles, 15 FireKing vehicles to ForestrySA, and other smaller orders.

"SMEs in the defence industry employ thousands of people, and their creativity is essential in the development of new technologies, products and services," said Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia's Managing Director.

"By supplying global companies such as Thales, they can boost productivity, generate revenue and open up new markets. This in turn creates new investment, skills and business growth. These major benefits will be substantially enhanced should the Hawkei enter full production in Australia, creating jobs and promoting economic growth in Victoria and across the country."

A recent independent survey commissioned by Thales found Bushmaster production activity over the past seven years has contributed more than $237 million to Bendigo's Gross Regional Product and generated more than 2,250 full time equivalent jobs around Australia. In the same period, the benefits to Victoria's Gross State Product, excluding the Bendigo region, increased by an additional $168 million.

This success in establishing jobs for Australians and the injection of cash into the local and regional economy is due to be sustained into the future through Thales's new Hawkei Light Protected Mobility Vehicle for the ADF and export. "The potential for local jobs and regional revenue for Australia through Hawkei is significant," Mr Jenkins added.

About Thales

Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008, the company generated revenues of 12.7 billion euros (equivalent of AUD22.1 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,500 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD1 billion in 2008.

Press contacts

Libby Noble
Thales Australia
+61 (0)2 9562 3150
+61 (0)434 155 881

Aude Colas des Francs
Thales, Land & Joint Systems
+33 (0)1 46 13 20 86

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