STATE Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has labelled the State Government “lazy and disengaged” before pledging to create a new group and ministerial position to bring more defence contracts to WA.
Last week there was disappointment with WA being left with the crumbs of the Federal Government’s $40 billion investment in the shipbuilding industry, with the majority of work heading to South Australia.
Construction of 12 offshore patrol vessels, a program worth $3 billion dollars, will only move to WA when work to build nine frigates begins in Adelaide in 2020.
The Frigate program is worth about $35 billion.
Austal, based at the Australian Marine Complex, has been lined up to build 21 replacement steel-hulled Pacific patrol boats in a deal worth about $900 million.
Just yesterday French company DCNS won a $50 billion contract in principle to build the next generation of Australian Navy submarines in Adelaide, with it yet to be made clear exactly how WA workers will benefit.
Mr McGowan said this morning Labor, if elected at the next State election, would create Defence West and a new Minister for Defence Issues, backed by an advisory board, to advocate for a greater share of defence contracts.
“WA has a golden opportunity to play a big role in building the future generations of Australia’s defence infrastructure,” he said.
“As our economy transitions away from mining, defence will be a key part of diversifying the economy and creating jobs for the future.
“The Liberals have been lazy and disengaged.
“They have failed to do the hard work to win our share of defence work.”