Rockingham business leaders told defence project is where smart money is

Rockingham business leaders at the defence business forum.
Rockingham business leaders at the defence business forum.

Senator Linda Reynolds addresses the defence business forum at the Cruising Yacht Club in Rockingham on Friday.

ROCKINGHAM business leaders got an update about defence projects that could provide opportunities for the region, including a $300 million upgrade of the HMAS Stirling base next year at a breakfast forum last week

About 110 people heard presentations from speakers including Senator Linda Reynolds, HMAS Stirling commanding officer Captain Brian Delamont and Broad Spectrum regional infrastructure manager Glen McCreary at the function organised by the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce and supported by the City of Rockingham.

There was also an update on the Renaissance Technopole project by City of Rockingham investment attraction manager Mark Tidman and French Australian Chamber of Commerce WA president Christine Caseris.

Senator Reynolds said WA would become Australia’s second shipbuilding hub as part of Australia’s 35-year, $90 billion shipbuilding plan.

She said sustainment and maintenance “was where the smart money is”.

“Two-thirds of $90 billion is uncommitted,” she said.

She said there were opportunities for businesses to get into the supply chains of the new naval vessels.

“Just because they are being built in South Australia, a lot of the components can come from here or anywhere in the world,” she said.

Senator Reynolds said most of the sustainment and maintenance contracts had not yet been let.

“The ASC, BAE and Austal are already doing this work in Henderson and that is where 50 years of jobs will come,” she said.

“That’s the area I would recommend a lot of you to focus on.”

She said all WA industries had to work collaboratively and be bold to secure shipbuilding and maintenance work.

Captain Delamont said HMAS Stirling was 39 years old and needed a good renovation.

“There is going to be about $300 million spent locally in the next couple of years to give the roads, sewerage, power and all those other things which those long-term projects plug into,” he said.

“The base has grown by about 25 per cent over the last five years and I would expect that rate of increase to continue.”

Mr McCreary suggested any businesses with a construction background that wanted to find out more about the renovations scheduled for the base to contact head contractor, Doric.