West Australia’s IKAD Engineering has hosted a group of federal opposition MPs for discussions about the involvement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the nation’s shipbuilding programs.
Josh Wilson, the member for Fremantle; Senator Louise Pratt; Richard Marles, the member for Corio and opposition spokesman for defence; and Madeleine King, the member for Brand, were all in attendance for the discussion, which IKAD Engineering said focused on the lack of, and play for, required infrastructure and support services in WA.
IKAD Engineering said the discussions were constructed and all part of the company's initiative already shown this year since it formed the Henderson Alliance to give SME's in WA a voice in the absence of structured services, such as the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) in South Australia.
The WA engineering business said that the South Australian DTC is providing these services in absence of any support from the federal or WA government and is seeking to rectify this.
"DTC is now providing these services in WA without any support of government at either federal or state level," IKAD Engineering said.
"It’s about time that changed. IKAD wishes to thank the MPs and Senators who visited today, and their open and candid discussions."
IKAD Engineering and the Henderson Alliance have been very vocal, calling for more policy decisions from the federal government to provide greater surety for SMEs. The alliance has concerns for SMEs after preferred bidders are announced for the Offshore Patrol Vessels and Future Frigates projects.
"We are concerned that once the preferred bidders are announced, without an ongoing mechanism to hold them to account, the prime contractors could potentially soften their commitments in the future," said IKAD Engineering and Henderson Alliance's Darryl Hockey.
"Let’s face it, we all know that prenuptial promises are easy to make and even easier to wiggle out of – so all we ask is for the integrity of the local content regime to be fortified.
"We certainly aren't looking to place any undue burdens upon the primes nor to ask them to do anything more than they have already voluntarily committed to and been assessed upon – we just seek comfort that the contract management process has extra transparency and integrity."