Western Australia's burgeoning shipbuilding industry is expected to continue its rapid growth into the next century, Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
Dr Lawrence said an expert analysis of the industry indicated that by 1995 the current annual turnover of about $250 million would jump by another $100 million.
By the turn of the century, the turnover was expected to have doubled to more than $600 million.
"The recent successes of local shipbuilders are providing the foundation for strong business and employment growth," the Premier said.
"The industry now employs about 770 people. In eight years that is expected to increase to 2,200 in an industry which is likely to be as big as the State's fabricated metal products industry.
"In addition, the jobs and wealth generated in other sections of the State economy will be two to four times the direct benefits in the shipbuilding industry itself.
"For instance, as well as direct jobs in the shipyards, another 2,000 people work in supply and support industries.
"By the turn of the century, direct and indirect employment should exceed 7,000 jobs generating income of about $170 million a year."
Dr Lawrence said the estimates reinforced the State's commitment to shipbuilding as an important industry of the future. Nearly all its income was export earnings.
The Premier said the major sources of growth were tipped to be the construction of aluminium vessels and repair work on navy ships.
The economic analysis had been prepared by Perth-based Economic Research Associates and was a critical planning element of ongoing study of the State's shipbuilding industry.
The Premier said local shipbuilder representatives were talking to the Government about a range of infrastructure and other issues as part of planning for the industry.
Copies of the economic study could be obtained from the defence section of the Department of State Development at 170 St George's Terrace, Perth, tel: 327 5507.