Australian Minister for Defense Touts Shipbuilding Programs

January 25, 2021 – Australian industry is continuing to reap the benefits of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented investment in new infrastructure and shipbuilding activities which is creating thousands of Australian jobs.

Through the Morrison Government’s up to $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, Henderson shipyard in Western Australia is becoming a sovereign capability powerhouse.

Under project SEA 1905 Phase 1, Defence has made a down-select decision to explore a variant of the offshore patrol vessels for the new Mine Countermeasures and Survey Vessels under project SEA 1905 Phase 1. This will support the construction of new vessels which will be built at the Henderson precinct, supporting local jobs in Western Australia.

During a visit to the Henderson precinct, the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC commended the progress being made.

“Following the election commitment made by the Federal Government in 2019, we are bringing forward the replacement of the Huon-class vessel from the 2030’s to the mid 2020’s. We are also committed to constructing a new hydrographic capability,” Minister Reynolds said.

“These vessels will help Navy navigate more confidently throughout the region, and safely clear minefields with the use of autonomous technologies.”

Defence has released an Invitation to Register and Request for Information on Austender for various components of the mission management system, the integration of the system, and the construction of a toolbox of Robotic and Autonomous Systems that the new vessels will require.

“This is all part of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented investment in a National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, with Henderson being one of the two major shipbuilding hubs in Australia, along with Osborne in South Australia,” Minister Reynolds said.

Currently, three classes of vessels are under construction at Henderson including:

• 21 Guardian class vessels;
• 10 of the 12 Arafura class offshore patrol vessels; and
• 6 Evolved Cape class vessels.

Since the 2016 Defence White Paper, eight ships have already been built and delivered in WA, with another eight ships currently under construction at Henderson.

“With a total of up to 45 ships to be built in WA, shipbuilding has gone from zero to boom in seven years because of the Morrison Government’s significant investment. Our commitment to shipbuilding in Australia is unprecedented in its scale and ambition,” Minister Reynolds said.

The Anzac class ships are also undergoing a major midlife upgrade at Henderson. This includes upgrades to systems modernisation activities as well as quality-of-life improvements for the crew, at a cost of more than $1 billion.

“Today, around half of Australia’s surface combatant fleet and all six Collins Class submarines are home ported in WA,” Minister Reynolds said.

“With plans highlighted in the 2020 Force Structure Plan to build two multi-role sealift and replenishment ships, a Pacific Support Vessel, and an ice-rated replacement for Ocean Protector in Australia, additional major docking facilities will be required in the near future to supplement the capability of the Captain Cook Graving Dock in Sydney.

“The construction of such a facility would be an enormous boost to our sovereign shipbuilding and sustainment industry, and the West Australian Government’s forward leaning approach and commitment to this work is crucial to Defence.

“I have witnessed first-hand the hive of activity at Henderson that demonstrates the Morrison Government’s determination and commitment to creating a sovereign industrial shipbuilding capability.

“With more than 1,300 naval shipbuilding and sustainment personnel employed in WA under the Coalition Government, this is good news for business and the economy, especially as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

“As part of this Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan, $75 billion will be spent on Australia’s maritime capabilities over the next decade alone. This will play a crucial role in supporting Australia’s economy and jobs growth.”

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