Maryborough is set to take on a new strategic defence industry role through a project that will diversify the region's economy and create jobs.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, and Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien, today announced that leading Australian weapons and ammunition supplier NIOA and Dusseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG have been invited to submit a full business case to establish a projectile forging plant in Maryborough.
Mr O'Brien said the Coalition Government proposes to invest $28.5 million through the Regional Growth Fund in the new high-tech facility that will create much needed long-term, well-paying jobs in Maryborough.
"This is a project that will transform Maryborough's economy and give our region a key stake in the defence of our nation," Mr O'Brien said.
"The advanced forging plant will manufacture large calibre projectiles for the Australian Defence Force and selected export markets. This project will span generations and strengthen and diversify Maryborough's industrial base.
"It is estimated that the project will support 78 jobs through the construction phase, including 27 direct construction positions. Once operational, the plant is expected to create 100 direct manufacturing positions that will deliver flow-on economic benefits to Maryborough and Wide Bay."
Mr O'Brien said the NIOA project will put Maryborough on the defence industry map by introducing a new industry to Australia and access to a global supply chain.
"I now look forward to working with NIOA to deliver this project so Maryborough and the Wide Bay can share in the long-term benefits this project will bring to the region," Mr O'Brien said.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Regional Growth Fund will provide grants of $10 million or more for major transformational projects that support long-term economic growth and create regional jobs.
"I thank NIOA for bringing this proposal forward and I pay tribute to Llew O'Brien for his strong advocacy for this project which will inject new capital, new jobs and new growth into Maryborough," Mr McCormack said.
"This is exciting news for Maryborough and Wide Bay. The first stage of the assessment process has been highly competitive, with more than 300 applications received from state and territory governments, local governments, businesses and not-for-profit organisations."
"The Regional Growth Fund will unlock economic opportunities across regional Australia and we know that when the regions are strong, so too is our nation," Mr McCormack said.
"I am pleased to announce the Government has selected a range projects to progress to the next stage. These projects are one step away from receiving funding and making the regions where they are located even stronger and more resilient.
"The projects selected for Stage 2 focus on building on existing strengths, re-invigorating industries and tapping into a region's tourism potential.
"Funding requests for these projects range from $10 million to $29 million, making the Liberal National Government's Regional Growth Fund a significant investor in our regions."
More information is available at http://regional.gov.au/regional/programs/regional-growth-fund.aspx.