Defence officials, including members of the newly formed Centre for Defence Industry Capability, travelled to Western Australia to see what the state’s defence capabilities could offer.
According to a statement made by the WA government, the state boasts some 180 companies with direct Defence contracts, the majority being SMEs.
WA is believed to be targeting future RAN ship builds in particular, as it has already invested heavily in shipbuilding, repair and maintenance, and heavy engineering industry sectors.
Aircraft maintenance, cyber security and information and communications technology support projects are also high on the state’s targeted future works.
WA Minister for Commerce Michael Mischin said Defence and CDIC were developing a Defence Industry Capability Plan to guide the Australian government's $195 billion worth of defence contracts.
"Today's defence industry forum, along with a wide-ranging business survey, will analyse the products, services, skills and experience of WA industry," he said.
"WA will help guide the Defence Industry Capability Plan and demonstrate the state's capability and readiness to take part in the national build and sustainment projects.
"At today's industry forum, Defence will brief local businesses on the nature of future opportunities and government support available to them.
"Information and insights offered by WA's local industry to Defence and CDIC will emphasise the state's capabilities to key decision makers and help shape the future of the nation's defence industry.
"WA's defence-related businesses have internationally competitive skills and capabilities, and the Liberal-National government is committed to further growing the industry and securing local jobs for decades to come."
The WA Defence Strategy 2016 stated that with the announcement by the federal government of an $89 billion package to build a new fleet of naval vessels in Australia over the next 20 years, WA is in a prime position to contribute to the project with:
- the majority of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels ($3 billion) to commence construction in WA in 2020, with the first two hulls starting construction in Adelaide in 2018, and then shifting to WA when the future frigate program commences construction in Adelaide. This program is expected to create more than 400 direct jobs;
- an expectation that WA industry will contribute to the build and sustainment programs of the $30 billion Future Frigate program (commencing construction in Adelaide in 2020), and the $50 billion Future Submarine program (commencing construction in Adelaide in mid- 2020s); and
- WA-based Austal has been selected as the preferred tenderer to build up to 21 Pacific Patrol Boats ($280 million) commencing construction in 2017, securing more than 120 direct jobs.