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WA government positions itself to support Collins Class maintenance

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia have responded to two studies into the Collins Class submarine full-cycle docking maintenance program, which have found significant strategic and economic benefits of moving this work to Western Australia. 

Premier Mark McGowan and Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia have welcomed the report findings and will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to ensure the needs and requirements of the Australian Defence Force are understood and met in Western Australia.

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The program of works is expected to contribute an extra $600 million to the Western Australian economy each year and bring on thousands of jobs.

Moving full-cycle docking to WA is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs at the program’s peak and generate up to $8.4 billion to gross state product over the life of the program.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers strategic study found that relocating Collins Class full-cycle docking to WA is in the national interest because it will de-risk the Attack Class submarine and Hunter Class frigate programs.

It is proposed that the relocation would reduce the workforce pressure on South Australia, freeing up workers to concentrate on the ambitious build programs.

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Premier McGowan, also the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, said, “Not only is our state home to the largest naval base in Australia, HMAS Stirling, we also have a highly capable and skilled defence industry and world-class industrial facilities. 

“Moving full-cycle docking to Western Australia will grow the defence industry’s capabilities, and it is considered best practice to conduct sustainment activities alongside where the submarines are based,” Premier McGowan added.

Moving the complete maintenance program to WA is critical in securing the Collins Class capability and ensures it is not impacted in the years to come as the workforce is focused on sustainment.

The study also found that the Osborne Naval Shipyard will face significant constraints, while Henderson in WA has the room for an expanded ASC facility. The Acil Allen economic study found that the WA economy would benefit significantly from full-cycle docking.

Premier McGowan said, “WA has a proud history of supporting the nation’s Defence requirements, and my government is committing significant resources to further build our defence industry infrastructure and workforce capacity.”

The key findings were released at the opening of the state’s second annual Indo-Pacific Defence Conference, which promotes WA’s defence industry to national and international delegates. PwC’s key findings demonstrate a strong case that moving full-cycle docking is in the national interest. 

These findings were reinforced by the comments of Minister Papalia, who said, “The McGowan government is committed to ensuring the capability of the Collins Class submarines is not compromised in any way.

Already, the McGowan government has created the Office of Defence West, appointed the state’s first Defence Advocate and established the Defence Advisory Forum, launched the Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan, and opened the Defence Science Centre.

Minister Papalia added, “Defence West is working closely with Defence to ensure WA is ready to meet the current and future needs of the nation. The Indo-Pacific Defence Conference is part of the McGowan government’s strategic plan to promote and grow our defence industry and I am pleased to see delegates from other states and around the world visiting Perth.”

The South Metropolitan TAFE Naval Base Campus in Henderson was also established to deliver the multiskilled workforce to build WA’s naval shipbuilding, maintenance and sustainment capability, to support the needs of the Defence sector.

The state government is working on an AMC Strategic Infrastructure and Land Use Plan. The plan will investigate the short, medium and long-term requirements of Defence to ensure WA can deliver what the nation needs.

WA government positions itself to support Collins Class maintenance
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