Former Jetstar workers recruited to help sustain F-35s at Williamtown

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, and Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, during the announcement of the Joint Strike Fighter – Industry Support Program at Parliament House, Canberra.


FORMER Jetstar aviation workers have been recruited to start a new career in the defence industry as part of the Morrison Government’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.

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The 25 former Jetstar workers have commenced their training with BAE Systems Australia to sustain Australia’s growing fleet of F-35A Lightning II and Hawk Lead in Fighter aircraft.

Following their training, 21 aviation technicians and logisticians will support the RAAF team at No 81 Wing in the ongoing maintenance of Australia’s F-35A fleet at RAAF Base Williamtown.

Four technicians and logisticians will work on the Hawk at BAE’s facility.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said this was a great outcome for the workers who were recently made redundant following Jetstar’s closure of its aircraft maintenance facility near Newcastle in NSW.

“I am proud of the way Defence and Australian industry have collaborated to identify new opportunities for these highly skilled workers,” Minister Reynolds said.

“These workers, who will start their new roles in January, will be retained in the local aviation industry while simultaneously helping Defence build its sovereign F-35A sustainment capability.

“This is just another example of the way the Morrison Government is working with Australian defence industry to help the economy recover from COVID-19.”

Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said this was a great demonstration of how our defence industry was helping workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During my regular engagement with the sector this year, I have urged companies to take on as many displaced workers as possible,” Minister Price said.

“These are workers already extremely well-armed with great skills and experience and it’s fantastic that the defence industry sector has been able to recruit their expertise.

“Defence’s excellent relationship with Australia’s industry partners has enabled this solution.

“It not only offers employment stability for the affected workers, but assists Defence as it builds Australia’s F-35A maintenance capability.

“This is another way we are working to keep the wheels of the defence industry turning through these challenging times.”

Senator for New South Wales, Hollie Hughes welcomed today’s announcement and said it was another example of the Morrison Government’s record defence investment supporting jobs across Australia.

“There is no doubt it has been a tough year for many Australians due to COVID-19. I’m pleased BAE Systems Australia has been able to employ these workers who were made redundant, offering them a new career in the defence industry,” Senator Hughes said.

“The Morrison Government’s investment in the global F-35 Program is boosting Australian industry and supporting jobs right across Australia which comes at such an important time as the economy continues to bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19.”


A pair of F-35A Lightning II aircraft (A35-015 and A35-024) fly in formation along the Newcastle region coastline during Exercise Lightning Storm.

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