M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzer being fired. Munition casings for the M777 will be produced at a new factory in Maryborough.
M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzer being fired. Munition casings for the M777 will be produced at a new factory in Maryborough. Contributed

HERE COMES THE BOOM: Munitions factory finds home, funding

CONSTRUCTION of a $60million munitions factory, tipped to be one of the only factories of its kind in Australia, could begin in Maryborough as soon as July.

$28.5million of Federal Government funding was approved for the joint project between Rheinmetall and NIOA yesterday, paving the way for the factory's construction.

First announced in October last year, the Federal Government's contribution was quarantined until a business case for the development was approved.

The latest announcement means the two companies will start finalising details of the factory before seeking preliminary costings with local builders for construction.

A section of Maryborough's Moonaboola Industrial Estate has already been zoned and pre-approved for the development.

Speaking in Maryborough yesterday, Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions director Robert Nioa said it was a great day for Queensland's industrial base.

He said site activity would likely start in the second half of the year.

"This is not just a new factory for Maryborough but a new industry for Queensland," Mr Nioa said.

"We've got a team flying to Germany, we've got an entire week of meetings planned with the scheduling group there trying to finalise the absolute last detail of the design of the factory.

"We've done preliminary costings with local builders for the construction costs... we'll probably start some activity on site I would like to think by July 1."

The factory will produce the casings for artillery shells, which will be used by the Australian Defence Force and exported to selected defence forces overseas.

No explosives will be produced on site.

About 100 jobs will be created along with another 78 jobs through the factory's construction.

"It's a good balance of skill level in that it's more than labouring work but stops short of something which is so precise where you have a difficulty trying to fill the skill base," Mr Nioa said.

"It will allow people to take that stepping stone from unemployed and unskilled, to quite skilled and extremely important for our business."

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said the factory would add a significant $100million economic output to the region and give access to "a global supply chain".

Earlier this month, the State Government contributed about $7.5million to get the project off the ground.



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