Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo and Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds have participated in a meeting of the WA Defence Industry Council at the Henderson Maritime Precinct to discuss the industry opportunities present in the state.
Minister Ciobo said members of the council, which includes all major shipbuilders, fabricators and defence industry primes, demonstrated Western Australia’s diverse industrial capability and capacity for growth.
"The Commonwealth government’s unprecedented investment in defence capability is already creating value and jobs growth in the Western Australian economy," he said.
The WA Defence Industry Council is a Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) initiative comprising WA industry and representatives from state and federal government who advocate on behalf of the local defence industry and deliver the best value defence outcomes for Australia.
The council's key objectives include:
- Maximising WA's contribution to all upcoming naval shipbuilding programs;
- Continue and increase WA's involvement in key naval upgrade and sustainment work;
- Develop and promote WA as a centre for defence training, education and research;
- Establish WA as a centre of maritime manufacturing excellence, combining defence and the oil and gas industry; and
- Expand defence and commercial export opportunities.
Continued investment in enabling infrastructure and skills through the Naval Shipbuilding College, in partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE, is ensuring WA industry is not only able to deliver these projects, but open new commercial shipbuilding and export opportunities.
"Austal have commenced sea trials on the first Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boat and construction on Civmec’s $80 million purpose-built shipbuilding facility for the Offshore Patrol Vessel Program is well underway," Minister Ciobo said.
Senator Reynolds said Western Australia’s defence industry has come a long way in just over two years following the sustained industry-led advocacy of the WA defence council.
"As a direct result of this industry-led advocacy, WA has been named Australia’s second naval shipbuilding hub and is responsible for the construction of 31 new vessels for both the Royal Australian Navy and our partners in the Pacific," Senator Reynolds said.
This success builds on calls made by Senator Reynolds when speaking to Defence Connect earlier in the year, when she explained that there were plenty of opportunities for WA and South Australia to work together across the growing portfolio of naval shipbuilding, including maintenance, sustainment and the $80 billion SEA 1000 program.
"There's billions of dollars’ worth of capital investment going into facilities there. We've got nearly 6,000 personnel based there, and their families. We've got pretty much half the Navy based over there," Senator Reynolds explained at the time.
"We won't get a truly sovereign capability if the state and territory governments are not working seamlessly with the federal government."