Ominous Cloud over Australian Naval Shipbuilders

The future of the Australian multi-billion dollar naval shipbuilding industry will be a hot topic on today’s agenda of the Australian Senate in Canberra.

Namely, the Senate will hold an urgent hearing today on the Government’s decision to prevent Australian ship builders from bidding to build two navy supply ships, favouring either Spain or South Korea.

The decision behind handing out the $1.5 billion project to foreign parties stems from a conclusion that it would be cheaper to get the ships overseas, putting an ominous cloud over the local shipbuilding jobs.

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, said thousands of jobs might be lost due to the gap between existing projects and future projects that would not commence for a number of years.

“Building the supply ships in Australia could have bridged that gap. Instead there could be a wholesale collapse of naval shipbuilding in Australia, and the de-skilling of an entire industry,” Senator Xenophon said.

The inquiry comes in the wake of a last week’s release of a Senate Committee report into Commonwealth Procurement practices, which severely criticized procurement rules effectively “excluding local industry in favour of cheaper imports, some of questionable quality.”

World Maritime News Staff, July 21st, 2014

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