WA vessels rule waves

Austal chief executive Andrew Bellamy.
Austal chief executive Andrew Bellamy.

HENDERSON-based shipbuilder Austal says it is time the country’s private sector fought to build Australia’s next fleet of navy vessels.

Tenders from local and international firms to build the next batch of submarines, frigates and offshore patrol vessels are being considered by the Federal Government.

Local bidders had to play catch-up after a report earlier this year found building locally is more costly.

Austal chief executive Andrew Bellamy used a tour of the company’s most recent build – a high-speed support vessel for the Royal Navy of Oman – to demonstrate Australian builders can deliver ships on time and under budget.

“I think by the time you’ve delivered 255 ships out of this facility, including 200 for export, even blind Freddy can work out ships can be built here,” he said.

“One of the things we haven’t done well as a company and as an industry is promote ourselves strongly enough – we’ve flown under the radar a bit.

“We get on with the job quietly and we don’t make a big fuss. I think it’s time the industry stood up and started to influence the outcome because we’ve got a track record that says you can stand right behind us.”

WA Chamber of Commerce chief executive Deidre Willmott was behind the push last week.

“We have the capability and the skills here in WA through companies who are already world class exporters and through the supply chains,” she said.