West Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia have announced the release of the state’s business case to the federal government outlining its commitment to bring Collins Class full cycle docking (FCD) to WA by 2024-25.
The business case provides further detail after the independent PricewaterhouseCoopers study, released by the state government last month, identified moving FCD to WA is in the national interest.
The business case further confirms that transitioning FCD to Western Australia is in the national interest and outlines the state government's commitment to invest in infrastructure and workforce training to ensure its success.
Premier McGowan said, "It's in the national interests to ensure that our nation's principal military strike weapon is kept operational and is well maintained. We have put forward a case that reinforces my government's commitment and shows we are prepared to work with the federal government to secure full cycle docking for Western Australia."
If successful, the McGowan government is willing to build a new wharf, upgrade support facilities, improve traffic flows and parking at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) in Henderson, upgrade transfer paths required for submarine maintenance, and further invest in workforce training through South Metropolitan TAFE.
"The submarines are based here at Garden Island so its operationally and logistically sensible to have the full maintenance of the subs undertaken locally. From my experience in the Navy, it's far better for crew morale to have the maintenance undertaken where the submarines are based," Premier McGowan added.
In order to meet future Defence and industry needs and to attract private investment that will help expand the ASC facility at Henderson – the state is also willing to invest in further infrastructure such as a ship lift and a graving dock.
"The McGowan government is also supportive of the zoning of a defence precinct in the AMC which will include security buffers. The business case delivered to the federal government details infrastructure, training and financial commitments to ensure the FCD transition can be delivered smoothly and without disruption to the Collins Class capability," Minister Papalia said.
"The business case outlines the reasons why a transition is in the national interest and the state government is committed to its success."
Moving FCD to WA will reduce pressure on South Australia's workforce, freeing them up to focus on building nine Hunter Class frigates and 12 Attack Class submarines.
Other benefits of moving FCD to WA include:
- Co-location of maintenance with operations is proven best-practice, building efficiencies between maintenance teams and a growing Royal Australian Navy workforce;
- WA already has a highly-skilled Collins Class workforce at the AMC, which currently undertakes mid cycle docking;
- WA has world-class training facilities; and
- The AMC has cost-effective expansion options.
Minister Papalia added, "In committing to FCD, WA will ensure a mix of experienced workers and highly-trained apprentices are available for the work by funding additional training and enhanced capacity through South Metropolitan TAFE."
The state government will continue to work with Defence and the federal government to demonstrate WA's capabilities to deliver what is required.