City French alliance agreement signed

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph

The City of Rockingham has signed an Economic Development Alliance with the French City of Cherbourg, as plans for its innovation hub gather pace.

The City has unveiled the Rockingham Renaissance initiative, which involves an innovation hub, or Technopole, being established at the Murdoch University campus on Dixon Road.

Rockingham Renaissance comes on the back of French company Naval Group being awarded the contract to build 12 new Australian submarines.

Given the proximity to Garden Island, there is potential for Rockingham’s Technopole to attract high-end French and European technology companies related to the defence industry to invest and be based locally.

The City has looked to formalise partnerships in Europe, with Mayor Barry Sammels, chief executive Andrew Hammond and investment attraction manager Mark Tidman travelling to France earlier this month. A formal agreement was signed with the City of Cherbourg last Thursday, which is a shipbuilding hub in France and home to the Naval Group.

Cr Sammels said the formal agreement had the potential to create significant economic and employment opportunities for the Rockingham region.

“Whilst we have worked hard to create an economic link with the French connections to the new submarine contracts and have been encouraged by the early response from the French, we were even more delighted by the positive and very enthusiastic reception we have had in France,” he said.

“The City of Cherbourg and the French-based industry representatives associated with the City have embraced the concept of partnering with us for what is potentially a major economic benefit for Rockingham, and of course, for the French.

“The alliance will be developed further when a high-level French delegation visits Rockingham next June to be further briefed on the Technopole project and to familiarise themselves with the investment potential available to them in Rockingham.

“While the submarines based at HMAS Stirling is the catalyst for an economic alliance, there are other opportunities to be explored during the French delegates visit to Rockingham.”

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