FCD subs call a setback for WA defence industry expertise

CCIWA CEO

CHRIS RODWELL

News that submarine Full Cycle Docking (FCD) will not be relocated to Western Australia is disappointing to the many WA businesses in our defence industry and supply chain.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has strongly supported calls for the program to be relocated to Western Australia on national interest grounds.

The case made by CCIWA, our members, and the State Government was based on sound principles. The co-location of maintenance with operations is well-recognised as best practice, creating efficiencies and improving knowledge transfer between operations and sustainment. WA has significant defence industry support infrastructure at the world-class Australian Marine Complex, and a highly skilled workforce, already delivering Collins class maintenance and grown via State Government initiatives.

CCIWA notes that workforce capacity issues posed by an excess of projects distributed to South Australia could also have been alleviated by repositioning FCD work to WA.

Though significant defence industry work will continue in Western Australia on a variety of patrol vessels, the decision is a setback for WA’s defence industry businesses and jobs. It is a lost opportunity for more small and medium-sized WA businesses to further develop, transfer and apply recognised expertise in oil and gas, mining and advanced manufacturing to a large and complex defence project.

It is critical that our State and Federal Governments continue to invest in the expansion of the defence industry in the West, because it is in our national interest to do so.

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