The Australian Shipowners Association (ASA) supports Premier Jay Weatherill’s call for a coordinated and constructive approach to be developed between the states and key industry associations to ensure major defence projects are not tendered overseas.
Teresa Lloyd, Executive Director of the Australian Shipowners Association, said: “It is important to add that fostering a local shipbuilding industry goes beyond providing services to the Australian Defence Force. Commercial vessel operators also require local ship yards for servicing and repairs. It is an integral part of the maritime cluster.”
Aside from the Australian Defence Force requirements, the ‘scheduled’ work that shipbuilding and repair facilities undertake provide critical capability for the shipping industry as a whole. In the 2011-2012 period, there were 32,404 port calls at Australian ports .
For a nation so highly reliant on the shipping industry not to have a network of repair facilities available is unfortunate at best.
At worst, it places additional risks on the environment and safety as non-seaworthy vessels will now be required to make the much longer journey (by tow or on their own, even though compromised) to Singapore or elsewhere.
A major part of any maritime economic cluster is the shipbuilding and repair sector.
Recently the Forgacs heavy-ship repair yard at Caincross in Brisbane closed.
The reasons for the closure have been widely discussed however there is no doubt that recent decisions by regulatory authorities has so frustrated the shipping industry that it no longer makes commercial sense to persevere with perpetually changing government policy in order to use and support Australian businesses.
Press Release, August 8, 2014