$100m Austal deal set to boost jobs

Southern Telegraph - - News - Chloe Fraser

A pro­posed $100 mil­lion deal to build two pa­trol boats at Austal’s ship­yard in Hen­der­son hinges on it gain­ing Fed­eral Govern­ment sup­port.

The project could sup­port 300 jobs and bring sub­stan­tial eco­nomic growth to Rock­ing­ham and Kwinana. The Repub­lic of Trinidad and Tobago last week an­nounced it would pur­chase two Austal Cape Class ves­sels to en­hance the coun­try’s bor­der pro­tec­tion, join­ing six ex­ist­ing Austal-built pa­trol craft ac­quired in 2009.

While the project is ex­pected to be backed by the Fed­eral Govern­ment through the Ex­port Fi­nance and In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion, the sale of the ves­sels is de­pen­dant on fi­nal con­tracts be­ing signed in com­ing weeks.

Rock­ing­ham Kwinana Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tony Solin said se­cur­ing po­ten­tial projects by Austal was crit­i­cal to the eco­nomic growth of Rock­ing­ham and Kwinana in par­tic­u­lar.

He said the project would bring on­go­ing em­ploy­ment as well as lo­cal con­tent op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It is re­ally im­por­tant that lo­cal, State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments work with busi­ness groups to max­imise lo­cal con­tent and in­ter­na­tional trade op­por­tu­ni­ties for our fu­ture growth,” Mr Solin said.

Kwinana In­dus­tries Coun­cil di­rec­tor Chris Oughton said the deal also high­lighted the im­por­tance of the West­ern Trade Coast as a gate­way to eco­nomic growth in the State.

He said the health of Austal’s for­ward order book was great news for the in­dus­tries that sup­port ship­build­ing fab­ri­ca­tion works.

If the deal pro­ceeds, the ves­sels would join work al­ready sched­uled at the Hen­der­son fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing a 109m cata­ma­ran for Den­mark ferry com­pany Mol­slin­jen, con­struc­tion of 21 pa­cific pa­trol boats and con­struc­tion of a 117m tri­maran for Ca­nary Is­lands ferry com­pany Fred Olsen.

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