Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Angelino Alfano has arrived in Australia for a two-day visit to Canberra and Adelaide, along with Fincantieri’s chairman Giampiero Massolo.
Minister Alfano is meeting with senior ministers and opposition members as well as key members of the business community and will officiate the official opening of the Fincantieri office in Adelaide.
Fincantieri is participating in the Australian government’s SEA 5000 Future Frigates bid process to be decided next year.
The Italian shipbuilder has already established operations in Canberra and Adelaide, and last week announced a request for proposal to four South Australian companies to build cruise ship blocks in South Australia.
During his visit, Minister Alfano will also announce the winning project for the Fincantieri-Flinders-CETENA Maritime Innovation Challenge – an initiative designed to foster international research collaboration and showcase leading defence research on the world stage.
"I am very pleased to be here to mark such an important milestone in Fincantieri’s presence in Australia," Minister Alfano said.
"Fincantieri’s enjoys a first-class reputation as a global shipbuilder. Fincantieri FREMM frigate, currently in service in the Italian Navy, is regarded by the defence community as one of the most technologically-advanced and effective vessels in the world.
"Since the end of the Second World War, the Italian migrant community has made a significant economic, social and cultural contribution to the growth and development of this nation. Australia and Italy have an established and co-operative relationship, and a shared commitment to strengthening our economies through trade and investment. I am confident that our industrial, naval and technological partnership with Australia can be further enhanced, including through co-operation with Fincantieri."
Fincantieri chairman Giampiero Massolo is also in Australia to attend Fincantieri Australia’s office blessing.
"Fincantieri is committed to bringing the most advanced, proven and tested design, technology and build experience to Australia, and we are confident that the company has a good opportunity to succeed in this competitive process," Massolo said.
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"We welcome the opportunity to build for the Royal Australian Navy and support the re-development of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry."
Dario Deste, chairman of Fincantieri Australia, added, "We are honoured to welcome the minister to Australia, at a time when we continue to deepen our involvement in South Australia’s shipbuilding industry. The minister’s visit reflects the Italian government’s support for our bid for SEA 5000 and our desire to expand our global operations to participate in shipbuilding projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Fincantieri is committed to expanding the local shipbuilding industry’s capability and improving economic outcomes, by transferring our organisation’s skills, technology and know-how to Australian businesses.
"Starting from day one of the SEA 5000 project, should we be selected, we are committed to training the local workforce of engineers and technicians, directly and throughout the entire supply-chain."