AUSTRALIA’S national shipbuilding program achieved a major milestone on Wednesday, cutting steel in WA for the first replacement Pacific Patrol Boat.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne attended the historic ceremony at HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services.
“Today marks the start of the Turnbull Government’s $89 billion shipbuilding program and WA has a vital role in this great national endeavour,” Mr Pyne said.
HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services has been contracted by Henderson-based Austal for the supply, transport, storage and cutting of Australian manufactured steel plate.
“This is a fantastic example of what we are trying to achieve and highlights the benefits of building ships in Australia because the supply chain wins work and jobs are created,” Mr Pyne said.
About 235 companies are contributing to Austal’s national supply chain.
“Austal expects the $306 million project will create up to 207 direct jobs and employ about 300 more in the supply chain,” he said.
Once constructed and tested, the vessels will be handed to the Australian Government and subsequently given to 12 Pacific Island countries as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in late 2018.
A shipbuilding facility in Naval Base will be used by Austal to build 19 patrol boats.
Austal chief executive David Singleton said the $306 million patrol boat project was the largest fleet of vessels to be built by the company.
“This demonstrates our ability to manage and deliver complex shipbuilding projects for the Federal Government,” he said.
Mr Pyne also visited Civmec in Henderson, which has started construction on a massive new $80 million shipbuilding and maintenance facility.
The main building footprint will be larger than the MCG and taller than the Sydney Opera House.
“This will transform the waterfront, create jobs and help bring investment to Henderson,” Mr Pyne said.
“Civmec believes the construction will create about 150 new jobs, which is a great sign of the confidence business has in our defence industry.”