Vow from French to use WA workers

A French submarine company says it would build as much as 30 per cent of the hull of a future submarine in WA if it was to win the multibillion-dollar contract.

The pledge comes as Defence Minister Marise Payne promised WA companies would play a key part in the Government’s construction program of warships and patrol boats.

DCNS Australia is a subsidiary of French shipbuilder DCNS. Senior executive Brent Clark said the company had been in close contact with the State Government and WA companies would be put to work if its bid was successful.

He said South Australia simply did not have the capacity to carry out all the ship and submarine building work that was likely to be announced in coming years.

“There is absolutely no reason at all why WA industry will not be producing large sections of that submarine,” Mr Clark said. “We would imagine as a bare minimum WA companies will produce a lot of pressure hull (for the subs).”

He pointed to companies such as the Henderson-based Civmec, which specialises in bending large steel structures, that would need to be involved in any Australian submarine build.

DCNS is one of three likely bidders for the Government’s future submarine tender — a program that could cost more than $20 billion.

German firm ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has also said it will use WA companies as part of its bid.

Bids for the submarine contract are due to be submitted to the Government on Monday.

Speaking to The Weekend West , the Defence Minister said she was being heavily lobbied by her WA Liberal colleagues to include WA companies in future shipbuilding work.

“Thanks to the prodigious efforts of my West Australian Liberal colleagues in the Senate, I am acutely aware of that campaign,” she said.

Senator Payne made clear that WA shipbuilder Austal would likely play a role in future shipbuilding work.

DCNS is offering to build a variant of its nuclear-powered Barracuda sub. A diesel engine would replace the nuclear-power plant.

Vow from French to use WA workers

The West Australian
28 November 2015