Austal committed to Henderson

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal has moved swiftly to allay fears that the opening of a design and project management office in Adelaide would detract from local operations in WA.

Last Friday the shipbuilding giant announced it would open the new office in Adelaide in a bid to help support the company’s expansion into Australia’s major shipbuilding hubs.

Austal, which is one of three companies vying to manufacture offshore navy patrol vessels in 2020, said the new office in SA would help support preparations for the $3 billion project as well as helping prepare for the Government Future Frigates program.

“The stronger Austal is, wherever that may be, the better our Henderson operations will be,” Austal chief executive David Singleton said.

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“Remember that we are building two OPVs in SA and then 10 in Henderson which, when you factor in the maintenance activity over the vessel life, will guarantee the WA business its future for 30 years.

“We have never had that level of assurance.”

Austal has entered into a joint venture partnership with German designer Fassmer for the patrol vessels project, while Civmec has also teamed up with German shipbuilder Luerssen and Federal Government-owned shipbuilder ASC to contest the contract.

“Austal is expanding our footprint in WA,” Mr Singleton said.

“We have recently expanded to new premises on Hope Valley Road to build the Pacific Patrol boats for the Australian Government and if we win either the offshore patrol vessel contract or specific awards for submarines or future frigates, then it is highly likely we would expand our operational footprint.

“This would create both construction and production employment with Austal or contractors.”

State Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia was contacted for comment.

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