Australia’s national shipbuilding program achieved a major milestone, with the ‘cutting steel’ ceremony for the first replacement Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) in Western Australia.
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Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne attended the ceremony at HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services in Bibra Lake to celebrate the momentous occasion.
"Today marks the start of the Turnbull government's $89 billion shipbuilding program and WA has a vital role in this great national endeavour," Minister Pyne said.
“HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services has been contracted by Austal for the supply, transport, storage and cutting of Australian manufactured steel plate.
"This is a fantastic example of what we are trying to achieve and highlights the benefits of building ships in Australia because the supply chain wins work and jobs are created.
"Austal says around 325 companies are in the PPB supply chain nationwide. Austal expects the $306 million project will create up to 207 direct jobs and employ around 300 more in the supply chain.
"Last month I opened the shipbuilding facility in Naval Base, south of Perth, which will be used by Austal to build 19 PPBs."
Once constructed and tested, the vessels will be handed to the Australian government and subsequently given to 12 Pacific Island countries as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in late 2018.
"In an exciting development, Austal has advised it's currently working on an export opportunity in Asia for the PPB," said Minister Pyne.
"This demonstrates the power of a continuous shipbuilding program to enable innovation and exports."