WA companies line up for international defence exposure

11 October, 2017

CCI’s WA Works provided exclusive insight into WA’s team defence effort at the biennial Pacific 2017 International Maritime Conference, courtesy of CCI Chief Executive Deidre Willmott.

The biennial conference and exhibition, held in Sydney last week, brought together thousands of ministers, defence industry and Department of Defence representatives, alongside Naval Commanders from throughout the world.

Willmott said Primes pitching for major Defence shipbuilding projects were all present at the exhibition hall, including Damen, Luerssen and Fassmer bidding for the SEA1180 OPVs, and Navantia, BAE Systems and Fincantieri, shortlisted for the SEA 5000 Future Frigates.

“All of them expressed strong interest in WA small-to-medium enterprises and capability,” Willmott reported.

WA businesses at the conference included Austal, Civmec/Forgacs, L3 Oceania, Curtin University, ASC Shipbuilding, AMC Common User Facility, Kaefer, NSM, Hofmann, IKAD, R. Moore & Sons, Nauti-Craft, VEEM and Future Engineering.

“A highlight of the day was seeing CCI Member Nauti-Craft of Dunsborough awarded best civil SME in Innovation for its innovative passive suspension system by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne,” Willmott said.

A vibrant WA political delegation was led by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia and Defence Advocate Raydon Gates, while Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds and WA Member for Brand Madeleine King were also there to support local companies.

“While there, Minister Papalia progressed discussions for a major WA maritime conference and exhibition proposed for 2018,” she said.

Federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne emphasised the importance of a sound, sovereign shipbuilding enterprise in Australia.

As a nation “girt by sea”, Pyne said we were inevitably a maritime nation.

He assured industry that the Government would ensure skills, technology and intellectual property were transferred from international ship designers and builders to Australian companies and that this was how a truly sovereign Australian shipbuilding industry would be created.

“Many present were, however, questioning whether this would be achieved under the current and proposed contracting arrangements for the Future Submarines and Future Frigates,” Willmott said.

“Following the recent Senate Committee hearings in which these issues were raised, CCI has written to Minister Pyne seeking further information.”

Willmott also met with CDIC while in Sydney to discuss how it is assisting SMEs in WA.

► Keen to launch your business into the defence sector? Get the latest updates plus tips from leading experts at the 2017 WA Defence Conference.