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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3516 ..


In fact, the ACT government, once upon a time, used to believe in actually trying to build up the defence industry in our territory and recognise the important role it plays in our economy. Back in 2017 the ACT government released a defence industry strategy called Established, Capable, Skilled: Growing the defence industry in the Canberra region. There it is. Let me quote from the Chief Minister, back in 2017, when he had not quite sold his soul completely to the local Greens:

The ACT is a well-established and well trusted partner in developing Australia’s defence capability, skills and services. We are strongly positioned to both support and benefit from the planned $200 billion investment in defence capability over the next 10 years.

We recognise that collaboration between the Australian, state and territory governments and defence-related industry is essential to strengthen our nation’s security. We are ready to strengthen and grow existing partnerships and show leadership in promoting state and territory collaboration to enhance defence capabilities.

Are they still, or have they sold their soul completely to the Greens when it comes to defence? This used to be the goal—and maybe Ms Cheyne can tell us whether it still is—to grow and sustain the defence industry in the Canberra region. Do you still support that? Does the Labor Party still support that? Will they be supporting my motion today? Ms Cheyne said she still supports that; so she will be supporting our motion and she will not be supporting the Greens’ amendment that does everything it can to distract and deflect from what we are putting here today. Their strategy used to be about outlining how we will maximise the ACT’s strengths and capacity to support defence, while building a significant and globally competitive industry, and so on and so on.

They made the point in this strategy that, for every extra billion dollars you spend on defence operations in the Canberra region, gross state product will grow by around $1.4 billion and add 8,000 jobs. But the Greens want to rip all that out. That is their stated policy. It will be very interesting to see whether the likes of Mr Rattenbury and Ms Davidson are going to stand up and say, “I do not support that. I do not want to rip out thousands of jobs from Canberra, as my federal colleagues do,” or are they actually going to say, “No, no, I am doubling down. I want to scrap all those jobs. I want to see all the defence people sacked and the ruin that that would cause their families”? Will they agree with that policy? Will they actually stand up for Canberrans and our defence personnel here?

I also worry about the impact on veterans. Veterans are not stupid. They will not be taken for a ride by this mob. They understand, if you rip $300 billion out of defence, what that will mean for our servicemen and women next time there is a conflict. If you want to get rid of submarines, jets and destroyers and replace them with what they have got, a peace spokesperson, if the spokesperson says, “We are going to replace that with effective communication that will work. In these uncertain strategic times, we will get rid of our defence force, all the bits that will actually keep us safe, and replace it with effective communication,” the problem is that those who would do harm to our nation and to our neighbours and to those who share our values are not


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