Australian naval shipbuilding getting $1B boost

By Richard Tomkins  |  May 17, 2017 at 9:31 AM
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May 17 (UPI) -- The Australian government plans a nearly $965 million investment to develop infrastructure at the country's naval shipyards for the building of next-gen ships.

The investment, announced by the Australian Department on Defense earlier this week as the Naval Shipbuilding Plan, is designed to end the boom-and-bust cycle that has afflicted the industry for many years.

"We are embarking on a great national endeavor," the Department of Defense statement said in a press release. "We will transform our naval shipbuilding and sustainment industry here in Australia, with Australian workers, in Australian shipyards, using Australian resources."

"In total, the [Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull Government will invest more than A$1.3 billion [nearly US$965 million] to modernize construction shipyards in South Australia and Western Australia."

Under the government's 2016 White Paper on Defense, Australia is planning to build about $66.7 billion worth of submarines, frigates and patrol boats over the next 35 years.

The Defense Department said work on naval shipbuilding infrastructure will start this year at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. The Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia will also be upgraded.

Included in the work will be new cranes and heavy lift transportation capability, the construction of welding stations and modernization of workshops and buildings.

To accompany infrastructure improvement and shipbuilding goals, Australia's Naval Shipbuilding College is to begin work with existing education centers to expand and develop the pool of available skilled workers for the expanding naval industry.

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