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$1bn naval shipbuilding election commitment for WA

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a plan to invest up to $1 billion in Western Australia’s naval shipbuilding capabilities with the commitment to build three new naval vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.

A re-elected Morrison government would invest up to $1 billion to increase our defence capabilities by building three naval vessels in Henderson, Western Australia – two mine warfare support vessels and a hydrographic vessel.

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This will ensure we maintain the 1,000 new jobs created to support continuous naval shipbuilding in WA and boost the state’s economy.

Prime Minister Morrison said the Australian Defence Force would continue to receive record funding to keep Australians safe, with naval shipbuilding playing a core role in the Coalition's plans. 

"This commitment in West Australia adds to the 31 minor war vessels already being built in the state - built in Australia, by Australian workers, with Australian steel – in stark contrast to Labor, who committed to build no naval vessels in Australia," Prime Minister Morrison said. 

The Coalition plan includes the construction of two further mine warfare support vessels at the Henderson shipyard precinct in West Australia is part of our new mine warfare strategy. 

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Prime Minister Morrison also outlined a plan to bring forward the replacement for the Huon class mine hunters from the 2030s to the mid-2020s, with over $1 billion allocated as part of the Defence Integrated Program's Maritime Mine Countermeasures program or SEA 1905.

Additionally, the Prime Minister expanded on commitments to construct a new hydrographic vessel at the Henderson shipyard precinct. This vessel is part of the SEA 2400 Hydrographic Data Collection Capability project, as part of this project, the Coalition outlined a plan to build and acquire a Strategic Military Survey Capability to undertake strategic collection of maritime environmental data as part of the military survey function.

First pass approval of this hydrographic military survey vessel is expected in fourth quarter 2019, with the build commencing in the early 2020s, at Henderson.

"We’re backing the West with our commitment to make WA a home of continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia and the Henderson precinct is crucial to Australia’s defence capability," Prime Minister Morrison added. 

WA is home to over 6,400 Defence personnel and has a number of key bases, including Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, Campbell Barracks, RAAF Base Pearce, RAAF Base Learmonth, RAAF Base Curtin and the Harold E Holt Communications Station.

WA is home to ongoing upgrade and sustainment work for the Royal Australian Navy's existing fleet, including:

  • Upgrades to and maintenance of the Anzac Class frigates at Henderson, valued at over $300 million in 2019-20;
  • The Collins Class submarine sustainment program at Henderson, valued at around $331 million in 2019-20; and
  • Collins Class submarine upgrade works at Henderson, valued at around $87 million in 2019-20.

The Prime Minister reiterated the Coalition's record in government, saying that the nation's defence expenditure would be increased to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020, in addition to a number of announcements made, including:

  • $367 million for the redevelopment of HMAS Stirling to modernise essential infrastructure;
  • Under the Coalition’s Local Industry Capability Plan pilot, 100 per cent of sub-contractors on this project are from the Perth and Rockingham region, representing around 2,000 workers, with over 5 per cent Indigenous participation;
  • $300 million for the development of the capability centre to support training for the new Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels and Hunter Class frigates;
  • Around $200 million for infrastructure to support Navy’s new replenishment vessels; and
  • About $670 million for the development of infrastructure in support of the Hunter Class frigates at HMAS Stirling.
$1bn naval shipbuilding election commitment for WA
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