A $5 million Defence Supply Chain Hub will be established in an innovative new industry precinct in the Townsville CBD.

The hub will be located in the Smart Precinct North Queensland in Palmer Street, and will operate as a one-stop shop for advice and expertise on regional supply chain logistics as well as maintenance.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said a defence hub in the new precinct would help North Queensland businesses tap into overseas and national defence projects.

‘The defence industries sector is growing quickly and establishing a national and international reputation for excellence, so the hub is going to tap into that rapid growth,’ she said.

‘We are pleased to partner with the Palaszczuk Government to deliver this hub which will act as a catalyst for more jobs in advanced manufacturing.’

The new precinct is a collaborative project that already includes Townsville City Council, Burdekin Shire Council, Hinchinbrook Shire Council, James Cook University, CQUniversity, DevNQ and Coder Dojo.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said 2 staff had already been appointed to the hub to work with local businesses and defence-industry stakeholders to help North Queensland businesses become defence-ready.

‘Queensland’s defence industries employ more than 6,500 people and generated an estimated $6.3 billion in revenue in 2015–16,’ Mr Dick said.

‘Through consultation with Townsville businesses, we have determined the key focus for the region and the services that local industry needs.

‘The Townsville hub will focus on research and development, training and simulated services, aerospace platform deep maintenance, vehicle and maritime sustainment and logistics and garrison support.’

The Townsville Defence Supply Chain Hub is a key action of the Queensland Government’s Defence Industries 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, which aims to significantly grow the state’s defence industries.

Key achievements so far include the decision by German defence giant Rheinmetall to establish a $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank.

Rheinmetall’s Queensland presence has opened up a variety of supply-chain opportunities for local manufacturers, which are being supported by TIQ.

One of the first businesses to take advantage of these opportunities has been Meadowbrook metal fabricator Frontline Manufacturing, which worked with TIQ Ipswich and TIQ Europe as part of a strategy to access Rheinmetall’s global supply chain.

The Queensland Government signed a memorandum of understanding with Smart Precinct North Queensland to establish the Townsville Defence Supply Chain Hub on 3 September.

The defence and aerospace sector is identified as one of Queensland’s growing export priorities in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.