Australia to benefit from Trump's defence spending

Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, April 3 (IANS) US President Donald Trump's promise to "rebuild" his country's military could have significant economic benefits for Australian state Victoria.

Six Melbourne-based companies will this week lobby the Trump administration for lucrative contracts to grab $70 billion fund increase, Xinhua news agency reported.

The companies will appeal for the contracts as Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne prepares to speak to senior US defence officials and members of Congress about the country's manufacturing.

The defence industry currently contributes $6.1 billion to the Victorian economy every year, employing more than 7,000 people.

Marand, a manufacturing company based 30 km from Melbourne in Moorabin, is expected to generate $750 million in revenue from its part in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, for which it produces vertical tails.

Sentient Vision, based in Port Melbourne, is another company competing for the contracts. It had previously impressed the Royal Navy and British government with Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) technology to detect small objects in the ocean.

The Victorian government has pushed manufacturers towards the defence industry market following the demise of automotive manufacturing in Australia.

The federal government has invested $150 billion in defence capability in the last 10 years.

Pyne, who will be the keynote speaker at the G'Day USA: US-Australia Dialogue on Defence Industries event, said the investment has been a key part in increasing Australia's defence exports.

"This will be an excellent foundation for us to grow our exports in defence industry, with allies like the US a prime focus of Australian companies," Pyne said on Monday.

Among the other companies hopeful of getting the US contracts is Integra Packaging which produces crates, boxes, anti-corrosive shrink wrap and reusable packaging for over 500 clients in the defence sector.