Turnbull highlights naval and shipbuilding spending in WA

Austal PM1
Austal intends to recruit more than 100 new apprentices in the next seven months. (Rod Taylor/Austal)

The Commonwealth will invest $100 million in naval and shipbuilding infrastructure and sustainment in Western Australia from this year until 2020, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced ahead of the state election there on March 11.

The spending on shipbuilding production lines and facilities includes work at the Henderson industrial precinct and Fleet Base West.

“This will position the Henderson shipyard to remain a world-class and internationally competitive facility for many decades to come,” Prime Minister Turnbull said in a statement.

“The new infrastructure will allow more ships to be built and sustained at the precinct, creating and maintaining jobs for the region. The $100 million investment highlights the critical role Western Australia plays in the nation’s shipbuilding and submarine programs.”

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne stated that the investment in infrastructure would contribute to continuous naval shipbuilding and enhanced sustainment of the Royal Australian Navy fleet.

“The upgrades will not only ensure the shipyard and companies that own and use the precinct have the infrastructure to support these existing projects, but are also best placed to successfully bid for future shipbuilding and sustainment work,” Minister Pyne said.

Infrastructure investment has also commenced at Henderson in support of the Future Submarine program.

Meanwhile, Austal announced that it intends to recruit more than 100 new apprentices in the next seven months as it increases the size of its workforce to build new military and commercial vessels for export and domestic customers.

The announcement from Prime Minister Turnbull comes after Minister Pyne said on February 9 that the government would “imminently” release the Naval Shipbuilding Plan to bring together all of the elements of the continuous naval shipbuilding strategy.