Commonwealth acquires shipbuilding facility from SA government

Some of the 1800 local builders at ASC gather to watch the keel laying ceremony of the second Air Warfare Destroyer.The federal government has purchased the Common User Facility at Techport Australia and surrounding land from the South Australian government for $230 million as it seeks to increase the size of the facility.

The facility will be fully owned and operated by the federal government, with the agreement representing an important part of getting infrastructure ready to cut steel on the Offshore Patrol Vessels next year, Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on May 12.

“The Turnbull government is solely committed to delivering its $89 billion naval shipbuilding program on time and on budget in order to deliver the jobs and economic growth to South Australia as soon as possible,” Minister Pyne said.

“The purchase of the Common User Facility and associated parcels of land at Osborne is an important step in delivering on our commitments to naval shipbuilding.

“As part of the deal, the state government has promised to provide assistance to the Commonwealth to progress the development of the shipyards at Osborne. This assistance includes items such as assisting with relevant approvals, providing utilities and services, road, rail and emergency services access, and stamp duty relief.”

The acquisition of land and facilities at Osborne marks the completion of the first stage of the separation of ASC, Minister Cormann said.

Meanwhile, SA Premier Jay Weatherill hailed the deal as a “win for South Australian taxpayers”.

“South Australia has resisted a play from the federal government to seize the state taxpayer owned Techport and shipbuilding land at no cost, insisting that the Commonwealth reimburse South Australians for state money used to build Defence infrastructure,” Premier Weatherill said in a statement.

The sale will provide funds to support advanced manufacturing opportunities likely to come from the naval shipbuilding program, the statement said.