French visitors view shipbuilding centre

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Minister Paul Papalia and French delegates .
Camera IconMinister Paul Papalia and French delegates . Credit: Aleisha Banner

WA’s local shipbuilding capacity and infrastructure in Henderson was on display to a high-profile French delegation last week, with delegates from 13 French companies visiting as part of a special trade mission.

Representing Business France, the French companies are part of sea innovation clusters operating in naval, maritime, offshore markets.

The 26 delegates were given a tour of the Australian Marine Complex Common User Facility as well as the premises of Austal, Forgacs Marine and Defence (Civmec), ASC and BAE Systems.

Delegates also met with about 30 enterprises in confidential meetings.

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The Telegraph understands discussions between the French group and local businesses centred on the infrastructure available at Australian Marine Complex in Henderson, the individual abilities of prime contractors, and the willingness of small and medium-sized enterprises partnering with international companies.

Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said WA boasted an experienced and internationally competitive industry that was ready to participate in Australian and foreign shipbuilding programs.

“The French companies who took part in the trade mission were investigating possible joint ventures, subcontracting opportunities and transferring technologies,” Mr Papalia said.

“I enjoyed discussing how we can boost business opportunities for local companies in the defence sector and adjacent industries like oil and gas.”

Business France is the French government agency responsible for the international development of the European Union member country’s economy.

City of Rockingham, which is keen to establish an innovation hub locally based around the French Technopole concept as part of their Rockingham Renaissance plan, said it was keen to meet the delegates.

“The City of Rockingham is looking forward to meeting with the members of the French trade mission very shortly to discuss the exciting possibilities that the City has to offer French industry, particularly in the area of technology transfer and research and development potential,” mayor Barry Sammels said.

The French trade delegates were from two clusters, the Atlantic coast of France and the Mediterranean coast.

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