Thank you very much, Chief of Army, and what an amazingly wonderful day this is for Army, and for the Australian Defence Force. It is a great pleasure to be back here at the Gallipoli Barracks today for this very important day for our Army.
I would like to start by paying my respects to the traditional custodians of the land on which we celebrate this wonderful occasion today — the Turrbal People — and I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. As the Minister for Defence, I also pay my deepest respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our nation with such great distinction in times of both peace and in war.
Today, Australia is living in the most significant period of geostrategic transition in our region since World War Two, and a time of great technological change. This is why, over the coming decade, the Australian Government is investing 200-billion-dollars in re-equipping the Australian Defence Force to make our most precious resource, our men and women in uniform, as safe as we can possibly make them.
Investing in the Army is a key part of our nation’s plan - and today is a significant milestone – the handover of the very first Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle. The Boxer vehicles have more firepower, they have more mobility, and even higher levels of protection for our soldiers than the ASLAV that they replaced.
Let me give you a few examples. The main gun — the cannon — is larger and more lethal than its predecessor. The significantly improved electro-optical systems will mean enemies can be detected at longer ranges, whatever time of day and whatever the weather. The radios, and the communications, are far more secure, and for the first time, they are integrated into the wider Army and Defence networks. They can handle larger quantities of data, and far more effectively. Most importantly, they will keep our soldiers, our men and women, even safer. For Queensland, they will also deliver over 1,000 new high-tech jobs.
Shortly, my colleague, and good friend Melissa Price, the Minister for Defence Industry, will go through a little further the important new commercial opportunities for Australian industry.
As the Minister for Defence, I am incredibly proud of the opportunities they are now providing Defence Industry, and how important it is that we continue. I’ll leave you with this thought before I handover to the Minister for Defence Industry. Australia is investing in this capability because we need it. With the rapidly changing technological environment that we operate in, we need this capability for our men and women. This is the first time since World War Two that any Australian Government has had the confidence in Australian workers, and Australian Industry, to deliver this capability for our men and women in uniform. It is a privilege to be here today – I hand over now to Melissa Price to say a few words.