More than 60 members attended the Geelong Manufacturing Council’s first networking event of the year on Tuesday.
Special guests Hanwha Defense Australia executive Tim Pickford and Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson were introduced by GMC Director and IXL Group Chair, Robert Backwell.
Both Mr Pickford and Senator Henderson highlighted the transformational opportunities that would develop for the region on the back of Hanwha recently announcing Avalon as its base to fulfil a $1 billion Australian Government Defence contract to build armoured vehicles.
Mr Pickford, the Director of Strategy and Business Development at Hanwha Defense Australia, said construction of the Hanwha armoured vehicle centre of excellence in Avalon is expected to spearhead global business opportunities with the South Korean multinational’s wider operations.
Hanwha’s defence operations represent less than 9 per cent of the giant Hanwha Group’s overall interests.
“And that 9 per cent is more than BHP and Australia Post combined,” Mr Pickford said.
Hanwha has a contract to produce 30 self-propelled howitzers, known as the Huntsman, and 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles in Geelong.
It is also one of only two companies in the running for a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles.
Senator Henderson said the self-propelled Howitzer project based in Geelong was a game-changer for the region.
The GMC Connect event, at Flying Brick Cider Co, kicked off a full calendar of events for GMC members, with an International Women’s Day Lunch to be held on Thursday, GMC’s Technology & Innovation Summit in April and program launches for Geelong Future Leaders of Industry and Leadership for Manufacturing Excellence in May.