State Development Minister Clive Brown will meet Federal Defence Minister Robert Hill and Federal Attorney General Darryl Williams in Canberra on Tuesday to lobby for the two Western Australian companies shortlisted for the contract to build the Royal Australian Navy’s replacement patrol boats.
Austal Ships (partnering with Defence Maritime Services) and Tenix Defence have been shortlisted, along with a tender from Newcastle-based Australian Defence Industries.
Rockingham MLA Mark McGowan and the Department of Industry and Technology’s marine and defence manager, John O’Hare, will accompany the Minister.
Mr Brown said the final contract could involve building up to 15 new patrol boats for the navy, estimated to be worth around $375 million.
“WA is internationally recognised for its credentials as a quality and efficient builder of patrol boats and as a centre for excellence in this regard,” he said.
“We have already supplied patrol boats to Kuwait, Hong Kong and the Philippines Coastguard, as well as the Australian Customs Bay Class boats and the NSW Police.
“The State has invested many millions of dollars in high-class infrastructure, including breakwaters and a ship lift, and more than $200million at the common user facility and fabrication precinct at the Australian Marine Complex in Cockburn Sound.”
Mr Brown said he hoped that the final decision to award the contract would be based on tenderers’ merits, rather than political considerations.
“The State is continuing with its agreed joint industry/Government facilitation strategy to ensure politics in the final decision is kept to a minimum,” he said.
“The two WA companies shortlisted have a wealth of experience in building patrol boats, and they have received no State Government financial assistance with their bid.
“That - combined with the State’s competitive labour and infrastructure costs - should see them well placed in the tender process.
“However, there is always the danger that the technical and commercial solutions offered by the WA bidders may become secondary to political and other influences in the decision-making process. That is why I am knocking on doors on their behalf in Canberra.”
Austal managing director Bob McKinnon said awarding the contract to Austal would be a positive endorsement of the capabilities of WA’s shipbuilding industry, an industry that has grown significantly based on the success of the Austal group.
“With our partner, Defence Maritime Services, we have the proven skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the ideal patrol and surveillance solution to the Royal Australian Navy,” Mr McKinnon said.
Tenix general manager Jonathon Smith said his company was proposing an outstanding vessel in a design, construction and support package for the navy.
“The Tenix proposal meets and exceeds the operational, technical, support and commercial requirements of the navy, in an innovative package providing excellent value for money, at low risk,” Mr Smith said.
Updated tenders for the three shortlisted companies closed mid-November and evaluations are now being undertaken. A final decision is expected March/April next year.
Minister's office: 9222 9699