Minister Pyne visited BAE Systems Australia and was briefed on the support they provide to the Royal Australian Navy.
He also toured Norship Marine’s vessel maintenance and storage facility and Tropical Reef Shipyard’s ship repair facilities to see first-hand the work they do to maintain RAN vessels based in the region.
“Cairns is absolutely vital to our plans for Australia’s defence industry,” Minister Pyne said.
“Australia has vast areas of coast line to protect and Cairns has an essential role safeguarding Australia’s maritime approaches and borders.
"This government is implementing an unprecedented continuous build of surface warships and minor war vessels in Australia, including our Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), some of which will be based here in Cairns.
“The deep maintenance of the Pacific Patrol Boats being built in Western Australia will also happen right here in Cairns, with the total support and sustainment investment estimated at more than $400 million across the life of the vessels.”
Cairns recently missed out on the contract to build the RAN OPVs, losing out to WA. However, in addition to the $400 million for the Pacific Patrol Boats is the $24 million commitment the Prime Minister made early this year to upgrade the Cairns Marine Precinct.
“The strengthening of our Defence capabilities will have a significant positive flow-on effect for local business and the Cairns economy,” Minister Pyne said.
He also took the opportunity to meet with Navy members based at HMAS Cairns and inspected the facilities that support Defence operations.
“It is a pleasure to be here today to meet with the dedicated officers and sailors serving at HMAS Cairns and discuss their role and the support they receive from Australian industry,” Minister Pyne said.
“As the Minister for Defence Industry, my first duty is to ensure the investment this government is making in Defence capability will enable the serving men and women to continue to protect Australia’s interests in the region.”