A $15 million, six-year contract has been awarded to Wangaratta-based supplier Pentarch Industrial to supply, refurbish and recycle ammunition containers for the Australian Defence Force.
The contract extends a 17-year agreement between the North East business and Defence which guarantees 13 permanent local jobs until 2026.
Member for Indi Helen Haines said the contract recognises innovation in regional Australia.
"Making the case for investment in North East small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was easy," Dr Haines said. "Defence industry is a major employer in the region, and the opportunity for a small to medium-sized regional businesses such as Pentarch have a key role in strengthening the local economy."
Dr Haines said the regional benefits of the contract went beyond the direct jobs it sustained.
Pentarch's business in Wangaratta has 92 suppliers and 55 are within a 70-kilometre radius.
"This ADF decision also recognises the ingenuity and capacity of a North East business to build national interest capability in Indi and play a role in protecting Australia," Dr Haines said.
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"The new contract, importantly, also confirms Pentarch as a Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities' supplier - one with critical defence capabilities developed or supported by Australian industry."
Defence Minister Melissa Price said yesterday that Pentarch was a "fine example of Australian ingenuity in manufacturing".
"Currently, there are over 800,000 containers in circulation used by Defence to store and transport small arms ammunition and pyrotechnics, such as flares and countermeasures," she said.
"The quality and condition of the ammunition containers is critical as they protect the explosive ordnance and munitions from the environment, ensuring the safety of Australian Defence Force personnel.
"Pentarch's system enables containers to be reused, rather than Defence having to resort to importing new containers from overseas."
Pentarch managing director Chris Deighton said the contract brought security to the business.
"The future for this business model has been rigorously assessed by Defence, proving it an excellent example of high quality recycling and re-use in a closed loop, and a replacement for the loss of local manufacturing capability," he said.
"It is a strong case in value for money, environmental management and a sustainable employment model.
"We believe this is a very positive Defence and industry story."