Vic premier tears into Turnbull over tanks

The Victorian premier has gone on a furious Twitter rant accusing the Coalition government of betraying jobless car workers for a second time after Queensland won a $5 billion contract to build new tanks for the army.

Queensland has won a $5 billion contract to build super tanks for the Australian Defence Force.

Queensland has won a $5 billion contract to build super tanks for the Australian Defence Force.

In a series of angry tweets, Daniel Andrews said the Coalition had handed the work to Queensland to shore up nine marginal seats there.

"We were best placed to build these vehicles that would defend our nation but we couldn't provide the electoral boost that would defend Malcolm Turnbull's career," he wrote.

The Coalition had again betrayed thousands of highly skilled, unemployed workers after killing off Victoria's car industry, he said.

"The Federal Government dangled this project in front of Victorians like a carrot ... now we know they never had any intention of awarding it to us," he wrote.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she understood why Mr Andrews was upset, but said she was happy the jobs had come north.

"They would have said the opposite if they had won," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Wednesday.

"But at the end of the day we have secured this contract, and this is Queensland jobs into the future."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew to Brisbane on Wednesday to announce Rheinmetall Defence Australia had won the contract over a rival bid by BAE Systems, which was backed by the Victorian government.

Rheinmetall will build 211 Boxer CRV tanks in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, and will use the base to market its products to defence forces overseas, holding out the promise of more lucrative contracts in the future.

Given the vehicles will be in service for 30 years, the deal means a generation of maintenance jobs and Rheinmetall will use its Ipswich base to tap into opportunities that could be worth tens of billions in the global military vehicle market.

Mr Turnbull denied politics had influenced the decision, saying the "lethality and survivability" of Rheinmetall's superior design was the deciding factor.

But Ian Macdonald, the LNP Senator for Queensland who lives in the defence city of Townsville, has told The Courier-Mail it will have a shoring up effect in marginal Queensland electorates.

"I'm sure it will," he said, but said the decision came down to design.

Mr Turnbull said the project was based in Queensland but it was a "national enterprise".

"We have had a big defence budget for a long time. But we have not spent enough of it with Australian workers, with Australian steel, with Australian technology ..." he told reporters at Brisbane's Enoggera army barracks.

Of the $2.8 billion in Australian content going into the tanks, $1.8 billion would be in Queensland, $600 million in Victoria, and other states would benefit too, such as NSW providing tempered steel, Mr Turnbull said.

Job estimates vary widely. Mr Turnbull said the project would create 1450 jobs Australia wide, with Rheinmetall working with more than 40 companies.

Federal Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said there'd be 330 jobs in Queensland, 170 in Victoria and the balance across other states.

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