An Australian defence industry co-operative has been tapped to develop a regional maintenance centre in far north Queensland for the Royal Australian Navy.
NORSTA Maritime — a joint venture between Norship, Tropical Reef Shipyard, Nova Systems and Secora — has secured a $70 million contract from the Commonwealth government for the development of the Cairns Regional Maintenance Centre (RMC North East).
As the Regional Maintenance Provider, NORSTA Maritime will be tasked with managing the maintenance of Royal Australian Navy ships in Cairns over the next five years.
This includes managing supply chains, nurturing existing Defence capabilities, and establishing new regional hubs.
This is expected to contribute to the development of a sovereign sustainment capability.
“RMC North East will deliver world-class continuous maintenance that is consistent and streamlined, ensuring Navy has the vessels it needs, where and when it needs them,” Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said.
“Cairns is a major Navy base and a gateway to the Pacific, a strategically important location for Navy.
“We are proud to be part of a truly sovereign partnership which is the first of the RAN’s.”
Jim McDowell, group CEO, Nova Systems, welcomed the opportunity to help manage the sustainment program.
“Nova Systems draw on our deep level skills to support the development of an innovative engineering and maintenance solution for the new Regional Maintenance Provider North East contract and will now, as part of Team NORSTA, continue to support NORSTA Maritime through a locally recruited and re-located team,” he said.
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According to Minister Dutton, the contract also includes incentives to provide local and regional SMEs with work opportunities.
“This model will build Australian Industry Capability, with local industry set to benefit from reduced barriers to entry and administrative overheads, as well as greater certainty and predictability so that they can better plan and invest,” Minister Dutton said.
“As the Regional Maintenance Provider in Cairns, NORSTA Maritime will be a vital part of the integrated workforce, performing management services, co-ordinating and scheduling maintenance and developing and stewarding sovereign sustainment capability.”
Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, noted the long-term benefits for the region.
“As more naval ships are maintained here in Cairns, more Defence and industry personnel will be required, which will further support long-term local jobs and diversify our economy,” Entsch said.
The RMC North East is the first of four maintenance centres to be developed at strategic ports in Cairns, Henderson (WA), Darwin and Sydney as part of the RAN's Plan Galelio Future Maritime Sustainment Model.
The new maintenance centre is expected to be operational within the coming months, initially supporting the evolved Cape Class patrol boats.
[Related: NSW firm secures Navy contract]
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.