Bids by two Western Australian companies for the Royal Australian Navy's replacement patrol boat contract have the wholehearted support of all sections of the community, according to State Development Minister Clive Brown.
Mr Brown said support would ensure WA would be able to hit the ground running if either Austal Ships or Tenix was successful in winning the contract.
“WA already has an international reputation for its shipbuilding and everyone who will be involved in the patrol boat contract is determined to enhance that reputation,” the Minister said.
“This support covers all the players who would be involved, from major manufacturers and employer groups, to local authorities and unions."
The winning bid for the tender to build up to 15 patrol boats - estimated to be worth up to $375million - is due to be announced in June.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA Chief Executive, Lyndon Rowe, said the local companies in the naval industry sector, including those bidding for this contract, were increasingly winning work at the national and international level.
“This success is based on their track record and ability to do the work on time, on budget and to the satisfaction of the client,” Mr Rowe said.
According to the Australian Industry Defence Network (WA branch), small-to-medium sized businesses are ready to provide a range of supporting products and services if a local company wins.
The network's chairman, Richard Drain, said winning the contract would further reinforce the fact that WA had the inherent maritime capability not only to only build such vessels, but to provide cost-effective support requirements.
At the same time, the South West Group of Local Councils was working closely with industry groups, small business, training providers and the Department of Industry and Resources to maximise opportunities associated with marine and maritime manufacturing and support activities.
South-West Group Director John McIlhone said the Australian Marine Complex, nearing completion at Cockburn Sound, would add another dimension to the region's infrastructure assets.
“This would complement the significant contribution already made by competitive and globally focused aluminium vessel manufacture and steel ship construction industries,” Mr McIlhone said.
“Despite this success, parts of the region suffer disproportionate amounts of disadvantage due to high, long-term unemployment concentrated in the Kwinana and Rockingham areas.
“As a co-ordinated, voluntary group of councils, we urge the Commonwealth Government to consider the co-ordination and commitment expressed by all relevant stakeholders, to acknowledge local industry’s capability and capacity and, of course, the enviable credentials of both Australian owned and operated bidders.”
Mr Brown said the widespread community support was strengthened by the major investment 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.
The Minister emphasised that he hoped the final decision to award the contract would be based on achieving the best commercial outcome for the Australian Government and taxpayers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that one of the WA companies will win the tender if it is allocated on this basis,” Mr Brown said.
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