La­bor floats marine ideas

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

STATE Op­po­si­tion Leader Mark McGowan la­belled the State Gov­ern­ment “lazy and dis­en­gaged” be­fore pledg­ing to cre­ate a new group and min­is­te­rial po­si­tion to bring more de­fence con­tracts to WA.

There was dis­ap­point­ment with WA be­ing left with the crumbs of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s $40 bil­lion in­vest­ment in the ship­build­ing in­dus­try, with the ma­jor­ity of work head­ing to South Aus­tralia.

Con­struc­tion of 12 off­shore pa­trol ves­sels, a pro­gram worth $3 bil­lion dol­lars, will only move to WA when work to build nine frigates be­gins in Ade­laide in 2020.

The frigate pro­gram worth about $35 bil­lion.

Austal, based at the Aus­tralian Marine Com­plex, has been lined up to build 21 re­place­ment steel-hulled Pa­cific pa­trol boats in a deal worth about $900 mil­lion.

Last week French com­pany is DCNS won a $50 bil­lion con­tract in prin­ci­ple to build the next gen­er­a­tion of Aus­tralian Navy sub­marines in Ade­laide.

Mr McGowan said La­bor, if elected at the next State elec­tion, would cre­ate De­fence West and a new Min­is­ter for De­fence Is­sues with an ad­vi­sory board to ad­vo­cate for a greater share of de­fence con­tracts.

“WA has a golden op­por­tu­nity to play a big role in build­ing the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Aus­tralia’s de­fence in­fra­struc­ture. As our econ­omy tran­si­tions from min­ing, de­fence will be a key part of di­ver­si­fy­ing the econ­omy and cre­at­ing jobs for the fu­ture,” he said.

“The Lib­er­als have been lazy and dis­en­gaged. They failed to do the hard work to win our share of de­fence work.”

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said the Gov­ern­ment would work with DCNS to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal busi­nesses to in­te­grate into the sup­ply chain. About 2800 jobs should be cre­ated.

Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett said WA con­trac­tors should ben­e­fit from the DCNS con­tract.

“Al­though the bulk of the sub­ma­rine build will oc­cur in Ade­laide from 2025, the Fu­ture Sub­ma­rine project is viewed by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment as a na­tional en­deav­our and I would ex­pect the proven ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the state’s naval ship­build­ing sec­tor will be called upon,” he said.

“WA has sig­nif­i­cant ca­pa­bil­ity to build com­po­nents for the sub­marines and to main­tain them. The state’s ca­pa­bil­ity, par­tic­u­larly in heavy steel works, is well recog­nised and will no doubt con­trib­ute heav­ily to the sub­ma­rine project.

On Fri­day the Pre­mier said a new long-term con­tract for main­te­nance of the Anzac Class frigates would be cen­tred in WA.

The Aus­tralian Marine Com­plex in Hen­der­son.

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