18 October 2023

Earlier this year, I was shocked to learn that Thales Australia had informed their loyal Bendigo workforce, that they were seeking to make 49 of them redundant and had called for volunteers to take a redundancy packet at their Finn Street manufacturing facility.

To the workers who have opted for a voluntary redundancy, thank you for your service and I wish you well in your next chapter in life.

However, the number of volunteers did not match the number of redundancies Thales had wanted to make.

Earlier this week, I publicly called on Thales Australia in a speech in Parliament not to move to forced redundancies in order to reach their preferred workforce target.

Yesterday, I spoke directly to the Thales Australia leadership who committed to no forced redundancies at the Bendigo Thales site at this stage.

Instead, Thales will work with the unions, and the Australian Government to try and find a solution.

This is good news.

In May this year, I welcomed the Minister for Defence Industry, Hon. Pat Conroy MP, to Bendigo to sign a new, $160 million contract to manufacture an additional 78 Bushmaster vehicles for the Australian Defence Force manufactured at Bendigo Thales.

Defence received the first Bushmaster in 2003 and 20 years later Bendigo continues to provide Australian soldiers with this important capability.

The iconic Bushmaster vehicle is supporting defence industry jobs in Australia, as well as saving lives in military operations around the world.

Bendigo has a long relationship with Defence and a proud defence manufacturing history.

I will continue to fight for the local jobs at Bendigo Thales, and for local contracts to ensure that work continues at the site.