Palaszczuk bids for defence force contract

Sonia Kohlbacher

The Queensland government has lobbied Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and two multinational companies for a lucrative defence force contract that would see armoured vehicles built and maintained in the sunshine state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said state officials had engaged with Rheinmetall Defence Australia and BAE systems, two companies shortlisted by the federal government for the Land 400 contract.

"This is advanced manufacturing. When you're talking about a downturn in the mining resources sector and people losing their jobs, this is a huge industry for Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday.

Land 400 is estimated to cost $20 billion and is the army's biggest, most complex and lucrative major capability equipment project.

The Department of Defence contract in question is Phase 2, supplying the army with 225 armoured combat reconnaissance vehicles, around 70 per cent of which will be based in Queensland to support brigades at Enoggera and Townsville.

The tender is worth up to $5 billion and could deliver hundreds of jobs, which Ms Palaszczuk said would be largely based in the state's southeast and would counter job losses in the mining sector.

Federal Queensland MPs have reportedly lobbied behind the scenes to claim victory over Victoria, which has also been shortlisted for the contract.

"It's heartening to see that yes, we've got coalition MPs now saying they're going to back this defence contract," Ms Palaszczuk added.

"I want every state member, every federal senator, to get behind Queensland for this contract.

"It is my government that is pursuing this rigorously and fighting tooth and nail to get the jobs for advanced manufacturing for this state."

Queensland is home to 11,400 personnel, or 40 per cent of the army, which incorporates two thirds of its fighting force and support units.