August 29, 1998
Today’s handover of a steel-hulled vehicle/passenger ferry at Fremantle is great news for Western Australia, according to Commerce and Trade Minister Hendy Cowan.
Mr Cowan said the new 49m vessel, Sealion 2000, showed there was an important future role for steel vessel construction as part of WA’s world-class shipbuilding industry.
“While this is the first such ferry built by Tenix Shipbuilding WA, it and other WA firms have a long history of constructing a wide range of commercial and paramilitary vessels for local and overseas customers,” he said.
“A recent industry strategy launched by the Department of Commerce and Trade showed that many of Australia’s tugs and fishing trawlers are reaching the end of their lifespans and there are significant opportunities in replacing them.
“The industry also has great potential to expand its role in repairing and refitting , both for the Navy and for vessels servicing offshore oil and gas development.
“In addition, changes in the relative value of the Australian dollar will help make the industry more competitive in Europe, and in markets where it competes with European and North American manufacturers.
“Attention has justifiably been focussed on the impressive performance of Western Australia’s lightweight ferry builders whose exports exceeded $300 million last year, but the launch of the Sealion 2000 illustrates the industry’s depth and diversity.
“A similar commitment to quality, innovation and productivity is ensuring that the steel shipbuilding sector remains a vital source of employment and income for WA and especially Perth’s south-western suburbs.”
Mr Cowan said the State Government would continue to provide appropriate support for shipbuilding.
“We have already made a major contribution to developing infrastructure at Jervoise Bay including the breakwaters and a shiplift facility.
“The proposed development of a new Southern Harbour and a heavy marine fabrication precinct will increase opportunities for steel shipbuilders.
“The $200 million project includes a Marine and Industry Technology Park and skills and research training centre.”
Mr Cowan congratulated Tenix Shipbuilding WA on its success in building the vessel which will service Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222 9595