WA in line for subs work

Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION -

THERE is noth­ing stop­ping WA com­pa­nies com­pet­ing for work on Aus­tralia’s next fleet of sub­marines, some 200 lo­cal firms were told last week.

In April, French com­pany DCNS won the $50 bil­lion in­prin­ci­ple con­tract to build 12 sub­marines for the Royal Aus­tralian Navy.

The kicker for WA is that the sub­marines will be built in Ade­laide.

It fol­lowed dis­ap­point­ment over WA’s share of the $40 bil­lion fed­eral in­vest­ment in the ship­build­ing in­dus­try, with the ma­jor­ity of the work again head­ing to South Aus­tralia.

At a sem­i­nar dis­cussing tech­nol­ogy trans­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties last Tues­day, DCNS’s di­rec­tor for strat­egy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions Brent Clark said while the sub­marines will be as­sem­bled in Ade­laide, there would be plenty of work avail­able for WA.

“We have said all the way through this is an Aus­trali­aw­ide enterprise,” he said.

“There is no one par­tic­u­lar State that has a mort­gage on all the work.

“There’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing stop­ping WA in­dus­try com­pet­ing for every­thing on the sub­ma­rine.”

DCNS had made con­tact with more than 500 com­pa­nies across Aus­tralia over the past 12 months, 120 of those in WA.

Many of those com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing heavy­weight builders Austal, Civmec and BAE Sys­tems, and lo­cal sup­pli­ers, are ex­pected to of­fer their ser­vices to the project.

But Mr Clark said lo­cal com­pa­nies would have to bid for work, so it is not yet clear how many of the 2900 jobs the sub­ma­rine pro­gram should cre­ate will end up in WA.

It also makes es­ti­mat­ing how much the State would ben­e­fit fi­nan­cially im­pos­si­ble at this stage.

“The in­dus­try built up here in Hen­der­son is world class and our ex­pec­ta­tion is we’ll be able to utilise that in­dus­try quite ef­fec­tively,” Mr Clark said.

State Com­merce Min­is­ter Michael Mischin said the sem­i­nar demon­strated DCNS’s com­mit­ment to lo­cal busi­ness.

“WA has a lot to of­fer the fu­ture sub­ma­rine pro­gram,” he said.

“We have a strong cul­ture of in­no­va­tion teamed with the ex­pe­ri­ence and proven track record to de­liver in­ter­na­tional naval ship­build­ing and sus­tain­ment pro­grams.”

Mr Mischin also used the sem­i­nar to an­nounce 16 metropoli­tan small to medium-sized busi­nesses will share $350,000 un­der the State Gov­ern­ment’s In­dus­try Fa­cil­i­ta­tion and Sup­port Pro­gram.

Pic­ture: Bryce Luff

Brent Clark and Michael Mischin in front of the French Navy frigate Guepratte, which was docked in Fre­man­tle to co­in­cide with the event.

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