Minister for Defence Industry, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today met with key Defence related companies based in Cairns, Queensland, to discuss the opportunities for local industry in the delivery of Australia’s Defence capability.
The Minister visited BAE Systems Australia and was briefed on the support they provide to the Royal Australian Navy. He also toured Norship Marine’s vessel maintenance and storage facility and Tropical Reef Shipyard’s ship repair facilities to see first-hand the important work they do to maintain Royal Australian Navy vessels based in the region.
“Cairns is absolutely vital to our plans for Australia’s defence industry,” Mr Pyne said.
“Australia has vast areas of coast line to protect and Cairns has an essential role safeguarding Australia’s maritime approaches and borders.”
This Government is implementing an unprecedented continuous build of surface warships and minor war vessels in Australia, including our Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), some of which will be based here in Cairns.”
“The deep maintenance of the Pacific Patrol Boats being built in Western Australia will also happen right here in Cairns, with the total support and sustainment investment estimated at more than $400 million across the life of the vessels.”
In addition to the $400 million for the Pacific Patrol Boats is the $24 million commitment the Prime Minister made early this year to upgrade the Cairns Marine Precinct.
“The strengthening of our Defence capabilities will have a significant positive flow-on effect for local business and the Cairns economy”, Mr Pyne said.
The Minister also took the opportunity to meet with Navy members based at HMAS Cairns and inspected the facilities that support Defence operations.
“It is a pleasure to be here today to meet with the dedicated officers and sailors serving at HMAS Cairns and discuss their role and the support they receive from Australian industry”, Mr Pyne said.
“As the Minister for Defence Industry, my first duty is to ensure the investment this Government is making in Defence capability will enable the serving men and women to continue to protect Australia’s interests in the region.”
The Minister’s visit highlights the critical role of the Australian Defence Force and Defence industries provide in northern Queensland, responding to threats to our maritime resources and protection of our northern borders.
SOURCE: Dept of Defence Ministers