Forgacs set to ride naval shipbuilding wave

28 April, 2017

Construction started on Forgacs’ $80 million Marine and Defence facility at Henderson last week, overseen by Federal Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

The cutting-edge manufacturing and maintenance shed – central to parent company Civmec’s plan to capture a piece of the Federal Government’s $90 billion naval refurbishment program – is expected to take two years to finish.

Forgacs Managing Director Mike Deeks will provide details of opportunities the new facility will bring for WA businesses at the Forgacs WA Works Sundowner on May 31.   

Rising 18-storeys above the Cockburn Sound skyline, the structure will become Australia’s largest undercover ship-building facility – big enough to house warfare frigates as well as patrol vessels.

The company’s decision to start construction was a “vote of confidence” in the Federal Government’s naval renewal program, Pyne told a group of young Civmec trainees at the ceremony last Wednesday.

“They are giving the Government a big tick of approval, because they believe this Government and future governments – this will go over many decades – are committed to naval shipbuilding here in Australia, and are not going to be able to reverse out of it,” he said.

“In the post-construction boom of mining, we are creating a new part of your economy, that is going to make a significant difference to WA and the people who live in Perth,” Pyne said.

The new facility is expected to generate a thousand new jobs, including at least 100 apprentices.

“If you have recently joined Civmec and Forgacs, you had made a very smart move as you are joining at a point where we will be growing the business quite considerably over the coming years,” Forgacs Managing Director Mike Deeks told the employees.

Civmec, in partnership with Holland’s Damen and Australia’s ASC, is bidding for the Federal Government’s $3-4bn OPV contract, which is due to be awarded later this year.

It is competing with Henderson competitor Austal, which is teamed with Germany’s Fassmer on the OPV bid.

Pyne’s visit to Civmec is a “clear sign” that he supports and endorse the WA shipbuilding industry’s investment to increase its capabilities and capacity, says WA Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia.

“WA has the greatest capacity in Australia to manufacture these ships and the assumption by the Federal Government that the large naval vessels and submarines should be built in South Australia is just wrong,” he says.

“It is clear Minister Pyne has seen for himself the capacity of the Australian Marine Complex and the companies that are in it, so there is no reason for the ‘lion's share’ to go to South Australia.”

With an expected floor area of 53,470 square metres, the factory will be a huge addition to the Australian Marine Complex and is designed to be the most efficient in the world, says Deeks.

►Find out how you can be a part of Forgacs’ success – join us for the next WA Works Sundowner featuring Forgacs Managing Director Mike Deeks.