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New large-scale aircraft manufacturing centre to be built in Queensland

Western Sydney Airport contract up for tender. Aricraft.

The Queensland Government will partner with a Sunshine Coast aerospace company to build a large-scale aircraft manufacturing and modification facility at Caloundra.

The company, HeliMods, is expected to accelerate the $10.3 million expansion of its current facility by almost five years, thanks to support form the State Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

HeliMods helps to turn standard factory aircraft into machines capable of performing complex special missions such as tactical operations, aerial policing, emergency medical services, and search and rescue operations.

It services a client base including the Australian Defence Force, Queensland Government’s Public Safety Business Agency, Starflight Australia for Victoria Police Air Wing and LifeFlight Australia.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said aircraft manufacturing and maintenance has great potential to grow our economy and create thousands of local jobs in years to come.

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“By partnering with HeliMods, we can ensure that we create more of these jobs in Caloundra,” she said.

“Because we’ve been able to minimise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Queensland, we can now focus on rebuilding our economy.

“That means more jobs and more projects like this that will pump millions of dollars into the Sunshine Coast.”

In addition to building a pipeline of works for civil clients, the facility and capability expansion will better position HeliMods to catch a wave of defence contracts and to establish itself as a significant player across the aerospace and defence industries.

The facility expansion will include hangars capable of accommodating large civil and defence aircraft, such as Boeing CH-47 Chinooks, in a segregated and secure environment.

Alongside facility expansion, HeliMods will also invest in capability enhancements across advanced engineering and manufacturing, and cyber-physical security systems.

Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Steven Miles said the partnership would create more than 65 Sunshine Coast jobs.

“We have a plan to rebuild the economy and create more opportunities for locals,” Miles said.

“Advanced Manufacturing is a growth industry. We’re tapping into this rapidly growing, global industry to stimulate our economy here in Caloundra.”

Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt said HeliMods was an impressive local business that’s developed world class capabilities in design, engineering, advanced manufacturing, certification and systems integration to customise helicopters.

“Since its founding in 2002, HeliMods has achieved significant growth both domestically and internationally, and has established a strong reputation as world-leading in its field,” Hunt said.

“The company now employs a young, dynamic and highly skilled workforce of over 30 people, with more than half of those in specialist technical roles.

“We’re partnering with them to create even more jobs in the future.”

HeliMods Founder Will Shrapnel said the Queensland Government’s support was essential in accelerating the company’s growth and will allow it to compete for larger defence and civil contracts.

“This expansion marks a new and exciting milestone for our business. We have worked hard over the years to build capability that is unique and sovereign and have established a proven track record in industry across both Australia and global export markets,” Shrapnel said.

“This investment will now allow us to further scale our capability and become a major player in the aerospace and defence industries, from right here on the Sunshine Coast.

“It represents an opportunity for us to become a next-generation provider to defence, one that can deliver the highest levels of quality and rigour, without compromising on speed or agility.”

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