BENDIGO company Australian Defence Apparel will kit out members of the Australian Defence Force with combat uniforms for at least the next five years.
The local manufacturer was one of two Victorian companies, along with Pacific Brands Workwear Group in West Footscray, to secure a contract worth $14.5 million a year over five years.
About 90,000 standard combat uniforms will be produced each year between the two companies.
Making the announcement yesterday, Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said it was fantastic news for Bendigo.
Mr Clare said the uniforms worn by Australian soldiers should be made in Australia.
“That means the fabric is woven in Australia and the garment is stitched together in Australia,” he said.
“I think it’s only fair that soldiers who fight in a uniform have that uniform made in Australia, the shirt and the pants.”
Federal member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons said the deal would inject about $35 million over the five-year period into Bendigo’s Australian Defence Apparel (ADA). ADA employs about 200 people in Bendigo, making uniforms for the Australian Army, the State Emergency Service and police.
“The contract for the standard combat uniforms will secure local jobs in Bendigo,” Mr Gibbons said.
“I’m delighted that ADA have again been successful on their own merit.”
Fabrics used in these uniforms will also be made in Australia by Bruck Textiles in Wangaratta, Victoria, and Technical Fabric Services Australia in South Stapylton, Queensland.
The Standard Combat Uniform is the disruptive pattern camouflage printed shirt and trousers worn by Australian Defence Force members deployed on operations, during training and as normal daily dress.
Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said that winning the contract was a good reflection on Bendigo’s manufacturing industry.
“It’s great news and a Christmas present for the workers and their families,” she said. “It’s also good news for the Bendigo community and economy.”