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The Federal Government must deliver on its local shipbuilding promise

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne must immediately release the Frigates Request For Tender so that the facts can be established.

Public reports this morning that this tender document does not require the successful tenderer to utilise the existing shipbuilding workforce or to engage with Australian shipbuilding companies is an affront.

If correct, this revelation exposes a disingenuous departure from the promise made by the Coalition prior to the last Federal election that Australian companies and Australian workers would build the frigates.

Each of the three frigate builders (BAE, Navantia and Fincantieri) have good designs. It’s one thing to select an architect to design the house but it’s another thing altogether to have the architect build the house.

Not that long ago, Federal Government ministers and senior officers were saying they wouldn’t trust the ASC to build a canoe. Do today’s revelations suggest attitudes in Canberra have not changed?

At least two Australian shipbuilding companies – the ASC and Austal – are capable of building the frigates; ASC has three air warfare destroyers already under its belt.

Why does the Coalition believe that Australian shipbuilders are incapable of doing the job?

The South Australian Government will continue to work closely with Australian Senators, other State Governments, industry and the unions to coordinate a national campaign to fight for a genuine sovereign Australian shipbuilding industry.