Hundreds of additional Defence Force reservists could be recruited under a plan that brings forward spending on existing military projects to boost the COVID-19 hit Australian economy.
- Scott Morrison will announce new initiatives on defence spending on Wednesday
- Much of the $1 billion package has already been unveiled
- The Government believes the move will provide supplementary employment for 27,000 Active Reserve members
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will detail several initiatives designed to support local defence projects and jobs, including the earlier than expected construction of a large hull vessel for the Pacific.
Ahead of the announcement, Mr Morrison acknowledged Australia’s defence industry was struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, like much of the economy.
“This is especially so for small and medium-sized businesses, that are critical to jobs,” he said.
“Supporting our defence industry is all part of our JobMaker plan — especially high-paying, high-skilled jobs that ensure we are supporting a robust, resilient and internationally competitive defence industry.”
Much of the $1 billion package has already been unveiled and the Government believes it will help support around 4,000 jobs overall.
Further employment will be offered to ADF reservists who have lost their civilian income, with an allocation of up to an extra 210,000 working days.
The Federal Government believes the move will provide supplementary employment for the existing 27,000 active reserve members, some who have lost their main jobs due to COVID-19.
There will also be a push to recruit up to 500 additional ADF Reservists, creating part-time employment for personnel at an average of 50 days per year.
Around $300 million worth of work on defence’s vast estates and infrastructure will be expedited, particularly for regions hit by recent bushfires.
Modifications, upgrades and engineering works for protected mobility vehicles will also be brought forward, with a focus on the Army’s Bushmaster.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said supporting Australian defence industry was crucial to the country’s economic recovery.
“Already we’ve fast-tracked a range of capability, infrastructure, skilling and workforce initiatives over the next two years,” Ms Reynolds said.
“This includes rolling out a number of defence estate works tenders as part of defence’s economic stimulus initiative package, that will run over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years.”