PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much it's a great pleasure to be here and can I acknowledge of course Melissa Price the Minister for Defence Industry and she's just returned from the United States and she's been doing some tremendous work there as an advocate for Australian industry, particularly of course the Australian Defence industry, which you've just heard this is a very strong focus for our government. Can I also acknowledge Tony Quick and Mark Burgess and all the management staff here at Quickstep and can I also acknowledge any serving members of the ADF and veterans who are a part of the crew here. Jobs, jobs, jobs that's this is about. Jobs that are well paid, a part of a vibrant manufacturing industry in Australia where we make things in this country. And we're respected for what we make in this country. I've recently returned from the United States, as has Melissa. That is the biggest investment partnership we have as a nation. Around $1.7 trillion invested in each other's economy. But also a relationship, the strategic dimensions of which in keeping Australia safe keeping the United States safe, providing a stable and peaceful world, where that agenda completely aligns with the investment and manufacturing and jobs agenda that both countries share.
Days like today help keep our economy strong and they help keep people in jobs and create more jobs, many more than 200 jobs here at this incredible plant standing in this $7 million room which is going to create even more jobs and further enhance the reputation of Australia as a great manufacturer, as a smart manufacturer, as an innovative manufacturer, as a manufacturer that can be depended upon in one of the toughest supply chains there is anywhere in the world. You know, if I was a pilot walking around this facility, I’d feel pretty good knowing the level of precision that is being exercised here and researched and innovated to ensure the proper workings of those strike fighters which those pilots will climb into and put themselves at risk for all of our security and for all of our defence. This really is an amazing success story for Australia, in seven years Quickstep has gone from a W.A. start-up, to a business that now employs 230 people. We're investing some $200 billion dollars as a government in the future of our defence forces. And we're doing that, raising our defence spending as a share of GDP to 2 per cent. And we will achieve that next year. Well ahead of schedule. Which means that Australia carries its own weight when it comes to our own strategic responsibilities, our own alliances, our own partnerships and the role that we play to ensure a stable and peaceful region, and to do that you've got to have the capability to back it up, and that's what's being built here. I want to congratulate Quickstep for the wonderful role they have played in demonstrating our capability and building that capability. They are a vital part of the Joint Strike Fighter program of which Australia is heavily invested and involved in. And it's not just about Quickstep, more than 50 Australian companies are part of the F 35 Joint Strike Fighters program global supply chain. Standing here in an Australia business where 230 people work, where we're expanding the capability of that business based on the investment, not just of the company themselves, but joint investments of the US and Australian governments I think speaks volumes about why I was in the United States and why Melissa was there. We were there because of this incredible relationship which is creating Australian capability, increasing the number of jobs both now and in the future but also playing a very significant role in ensuring the capability of our Defence forces and the interoperability that occurs between the US and Australia. Over the life of the F 35 capability Australian industry is expected to secure $5 billion dollars in contracts supporting around 5000 highly skilled Australian jobs. The reason I get particularly excited about our defence industry program, which Melissa leads, is because it's not just building the capability of our Defence forces, it is showcasing and developing the capability of our advanced manufacturing sector. That's what it's doing. It is rolling out new jobs new capabilities, new opportunities, new relationships, new respect for Australia not just in the United States but all around the world. And that's going to be a real source of opportunity for Australia in the decade ahead.
The global economy keeps changing. But what we're seeing here is a demonstration of the ability to adapt to that change and to meet it. And to better others in how we go about doing that. So to everybody at Quickstep, this really is a tremendous day for you I know you're enormously proud and what you've been able to achieve, and talking to your staff and those who've been involved in this project are rightly feeling pretty pumped, I think, about what you've been able to do here. But as Australians, I think you should feel even more proud of what you’re part of, and I know you are. And so it's very pleasing to be here with Melissa, to be here to open this particular facility. And I look forward to opening more. Not just here but in many other facilities around the country. This shows what the alliance is all about at the end of the day. Not just about our joint security, but our joint prosperity and how we work together to realise these opportunities together. So congratulations. Thank you for the opportunity for Melissa and I to be here and I look forward to pulling the curtain!