Peace activist: 'Metal shops should be helping the climate transition, not preparing for war'

March 24, 2023
Image of the new Kongsberg anti-ship missile. Photo: Australian Defence Magazine

Key components for the Royal Australian Navy’s next generation of anti-ship missiles will be built in Djilang/Geelong, the government announced in February.

Peace campaigners argue that engineering firms should instead be awarded grants to manufacture components for the climate transition.

Geelong-based engineering firm Marand Precision Engineering was awarded the contract from Kongsberg Defence Australia to build launch ramps systems for the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile.

The fifth generation of long-range, precision strike weapons will replace older anti-ship missiles on the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC Class Frigates and Hobart Class Destroyers, according to Australian Defence Magazine. The contract “will also leverage” a grant received last August 2022 under the “Modern Manufacturing Initiative focused on Welding Excellence”.

“This is precisely how governments get away with their ‘forever war’ policies,” John Quelch from the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network told Green Left.

“With the demise of manufacturing jobs across the country over the past three decades, particularly in Geelong, it’s no mistake this community is targeted.

“No doubt, ‘Minister for War’ Richard Marles had a great deal to do with the decision to base it in his own electorate. He is sure to be in town when the factory opens for the photo opportunity!”

The ramps will be fabricated at Marand’s new facility inside the old Ford tool room on Melbourne Road. Marand designs and manufactures products for the defence, aerospace, mining, rail and energy industries. Its customers include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Boeing, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Quelch believes metal shops in Djilang should instead be manufacturing components for the climate transition.

“The city could be a leader in renewable technologies, including wind, wave and solar. It would create lot more jobs and not help put this country on the way to war with China, as the AUKUS pact is doing.”

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