WA Eyes Off $5b In Defence Contracts
26 September 2016
The push, which will be supported by WA members of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet, comes after efforts to win warship and submarine contracts for local industry.
The Federal Government is rolling out a $20 billion plan to replace the Australian Defence Force’s ageing fleet of armoured vehicles, known as Land 400.
WA is targeting phase two of the program, which will provide 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles to replace the current fleet of respected but dated Australian Light Armoured Vehicles that had heavy use in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Premier Colin Barnett and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill last year traded broadsides as the States fought for a share of tens of billions of dollars of future shipbuilding and submarine work.
WA Treasurer Mike Nahan has complained about the amount of Federal contracts being poured into SA, saying the State was being favoured because it had more marginal seats.
Since taking the job of Defence Industry Minister, Adelaide-based Christopher Pyne has been forced to offer repeated assurances that he will not use his job to steal work from WA.
WA Liberal senator Linda Reynolds said the armoured vehicle program was a “significant opportunity” for the State and the Defence Department would hold an industry workshop in Perth in coming months to let local companies make a pitch for work.
BAE Systems and Rheinmetall have already been selected to take part in the program. BAE Systems is offering the AMV35 based on the Finnish Patria while Rheinmetall’s vehicle is developed from the Boxer already in service with German and the Netherlands.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA chief Deidre Willmott said local companies were well positioned to become major defence suppliers, with work on major resources projects having slowed.
WA shipbuilder Austal was recently named as the preferred tenderer to build 21 Pacific patrol boats.
The State will also build most of the new fleet of corvettes for the navy.
The BAE shipyards south of Fremantle recently won a $2 billion contract to maintain the navy’s fleet of ANZAC class frigates.
While the State Government has hailed the contract wins as a boon for local industry, WA Labor has complained that the Commonwealth spend represents only a tiny fraction of that being pumped into SA.
Adelaide newspapers this month warned that hundreds of defence jobs were at risk of being lost to WA if a plan to shift submarine heavy-maintenance work from South Australia to the west was successful.
Source : au.news.yahoo.com