26/05/2017 - 12:23

State government still plans to win ships work

26/05/2017 - 12:23


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The state government will appoint a defence advocate to lobby Canberra to win work slated for South Australia.

Mark McGowan says WA can still secure its fair share of the defence program. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government says it can still win a bigger share of the nation's $90 billion shipbuilding program because contracts are still unsigned, and it will appoint a defence advocate to lobby Canberra to win work slated for South Australia.

The state government has created the ‘Defence West’ office, which will prepare a strategy to campaign for a greater share of the federal government’s naval shipbuilding program.

A Western Australian defence advocate will soon be appointed, along with a panel of specialist advisers to champion the interests of WA’s defence industry with federal ministers, defence executives and other key decision makers.

Much to WA’s chagrin, South Australia is to receive $86 billion worth of the massive program, which the WA government says is a political decision based on marginal seats, as WA has stronger naval and shipbuilding infrastructure.

"It's not done and dusted ... there is plenty of opportunity to influence decisions down the track as to where the actual construction takes place," WA Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said today.

“Our proximity to operational areas, and being home to the country's largest Navy base, means WA already plays a key role in Australia's strategic interests.

"We also have the greatest concentration of defence-related prime contractors and small to medium enterprises of any capital in Australia.

"WA has the capacity, capability and workers to undertake large contracts, and Defence West will champion our assets nationally and internationally."

Premier Mark McGowan said WA’s shipbuilding industry had the expertise and capability to build the next generation of Navy vessels.

“WA is set to receive just 3.7 per cent of the national defence spend but the state government will demand a bigger share of defence work for the state,” he said.

"We've identified defence as a key pillar for diversifying the state's economy and believe through strategic advocacy we can secure our fair share of the defence budget.

"Today's defence industry engagement consortium will provide an opportunity to work with WA's defence industry to drive more jobs for Western Australians." 


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