The South Australia Government has sanctioned a multi-million dollar expansion of its Techport facility to expand its wharf by 22 meters and permit two Air Warfare Destroyers to berth side-by-side.
The $5 million upgrade, to be funded by the Air Warfare Destroyer program, will significantly expand the facility’s infrastructure and improve its competitiveness to secure future naval shipbuilding contracts.
“The wharf extension includes an extra 11 metres at each end and enables test and activation activities for the Air Warfare Destroyer program to be conducted at Techport Australia,” said Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith.
The State Government has also in place another major upgrade plan that envisions a second dry dock for shipbuilding and maintenance as well as expanded work areas to allow ships and submarines to be built concurrently.
Mr Hamilton-Smith rubbished reports that Techport Australia did not have “ample space” to deliver Offshore Patrol Vessels, Future Frigates and Future Submarines.
“South Australia is the natural home of shipbuilding in this country. Techport Australia can be readily expanded to support all three projects and we stand ready to work with the Commonwealth to deliver Australia’s next generation naval fleet,” he said.
“The State Government has already invested $250 million in Techport Australia. As a nation we must capitalise on this investment, not spend money elsewhere developing capabilities that already exist in South Australia. We have the skilled workforce ready to start work on the Offshore Patrol Vessels. Hundreds of shipbuilding workers have already lost their jobs and there will be many more to come.”
The Minister also maintained that key decisions about Offshore Patrol Vessel and Future Submarine build locations “must not be delayed”.
“The industry and the workers need certainty and stability now and these important announcements must not be held off until after the election.”