Minister Lynham backs Cairns shipyards for new defence contracts

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Queensland’s Minister for State Development, Dr Anthony Lynham has visited the Norship Marine and BSE Maritime Systems shipyard in Cairns to support their push for new defence work under the largest Defence White Paper in the nation’s history.

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“I am here in Far North Queensland to hear about these companies’ improved processes and efficiencies, their proposal offer, and what further support the Queensland Government might be able to bring to bear for upcoming projects,” the Minister said.

“I need to know their stories first-hand before I head to Canberra to discuss this and other important defence matters that Queensland companies have an interest in.”

A Cairns-based consortium – comprised of Teekay Shipping, Damen, BSE Maritime Solutions and Norship Marine – is one of two final contenders for the $2 billion contract to build and support replacement Pacific-class patrol boats, with the other being a Western Australian bid.

Dr Lynham said both proposals were shortlisted in November last year, with final bids tendered more than a month ago.

“But I want the Federal Government to be aware the Palaszczuk Government is very keen for this contract to come to Queensland,” the Minister stated.

“Cairns, with its existing capabilities, is an ideal base for modular constructions, components and subsystem opportunities in larger naval projects as they come through the pipeline.”

Dr Lynham said Queensland companies secured $3.6 billion in defence contracts in the 2014-15 financial year, adding that he would continue to advocate for the Cairns Shipyards as Australia’s largest and most capable patrol boat hub.

“The patrol boat replacement contract would give the local industry leverage into the future submarine, frigate and offshore patrol vessels,” he said.

Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, said Far North Queensland had the required resources, workforce and knowhow to secure major defence and commercial shipbuilding contracts.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to further diversifying our state economy to meet the challenges of the post-mining boom economy,” he said.

“Securing defence contracts is one way to develop a strong shipbuilding sector and create new jobs. It can also help develop other spin-off jobs by strengthening service and supply industries.”