SMEs band together to secure shipbuilding work

Members of the Henderson Alliance

Businesses in Western Australia’s maritime industry have come together and formed the Henderson Alliance in the hope of securing work from the billion-dollar naval shipbuilding projects.

At least 17 companies have joined the alliance, which hopes to ensure SMEs are securing work and benefitting from the shipbuilding program, not just the big prime companies.

Manager of strategic partnership with IKAD Engineering Darryl Hockey said the alliance, which will be co-ordinated by IKAD, was formed by SMEs in the Henderson and WA maritime business industry that are "looking down the track" to see how much work they might be able to secure from the large-scale Navy projects.

"There's been a number of companies that have spoken to us in recent time saying 'perhaps there's something we can do together'," said Hockey.

"So we've pulled this alliance together.

"At this stage we've got 17 on board, we're still talking to some others as well and it just seems to have a real groundswell of interest and support."

Hockey identified the three key purposes of the alliance as:

  • to provide a voice to industry and government for SMEs in defence;
  • to provide a platform for SMEs to form partnerships to allow participation in larger scale projects; and
  • to create a forum for networking, mutual support and innovation.

Companies part of the alliance include Host Group, IKAD Engineering, L2S Engineering, Marine Construction Services, Marine Inspection Service, Marine Technicians Australia, Mackenzie Marine and Towage, PMC Group, Pozztech and Weldtech.

Twelve offshore patrol vessels have been ordered for construction by the Australian government, with two to be built in South Australia and 10 in WA when construction moves to make way for the Future Frigate construction in Adelaide in 2020.

The program is estimated to cost over $3 billion.

The 12 vessels will replace the 13 existing Armidale Class patrol boats.

The government said the OPVs will enhance the Australian Defence Forces' capacity to support border security, maritime resource protection and military patrol and response operations. 

The Henderson Alliance hopes to promote its policies and views to the state and federal governments, and key industry bodies such as the CCI WA Defence Industry Council and the Australian Industry and Defence Network.

Dutch company Damen and German companies Fassmer and Lürssen have been downselected as tenderers for the program.

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