The contract, for five years and with a value of more than $300 million, covers eight Anzac class frigates.
Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare said four companies or joint ventures -- BAE Systems, Babcock/UGL Infrastructure, Thales Australia, and DMS Maritime/Transfield Services -- have been short-listed to compete for the work following an open tender process.
This is the first of the new group maintenance contracts to be released for tender.
Currently, each maintenance activity is contracted individually to a panel of companies who compete for the work. This reform will end that system and create five-year performance-based contracts for the maintenance and repair.
"This reform provides more security for Australian businesses and more job security for their workforce," Clare said. "It's a significant change -- ending the burden for industry of bidding for every job."
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