Baldwin Wrong On Hornets

The Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today rebuked accusations made by the Member for Patterson on the recently announced $350 million Hornet maintenance contract. “Mr Baldwin’s assertion that the awarding of the Hornet engine support contract means that jobs will move from Williamtown to Amberley is simply wrong,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.The Government announced the awarding of a 12 year contract to General Electric International Incorporated (GEII) on 15 December to provide all support for the engines powering the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF’s) F/A-18A/B Hornet and soon to be acquired F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft.“The deep engine maintenance work that sustains the classic F/A-18 Hornet which the RAAF operates is currently undertaken in New Zealand. The only engine work that is currently done in Williamtown is relatively minor and includes the removal and preparation of engine components before they are sent off-shore, and minor repairs. There will be no reduction in the current workforce at Williamtown.” “The workforce that will sustain the Super Hornet when it arrives is currently working on the F-111 at RAAF Amberley. This is a highly specialised workforce that has been built-up over 15 years, and this new contract means that these 150 jobs will continue when the F-111 is retired,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.GEII, with major support from Australian companies Tasman Aviation Enterprises and Goodrich Control Systems Australia, will support the two engine fleets for their planned ADF service lives. “Contrary to Mr Baldwin’s claims, this contract will actually save the Australian taxpayer $23 million. It will allow a highly specialised workforce in South East Queensland to continue when the F-111 is retired, and ensure the ongoing engine maintenance requirements of both the classic F/A18A/B and F/A18F Super Hornet can be met within Australia,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “To assert that the awarding of this contract means a reduction in industry work away from Williamtown is blatant scaremongering and underscores Mr Baldwin’s poor understanding of Defence industry matters.”

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