ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, has contracted its first Indigenous business to support prototyping for Australia’s largest surface shipbuilding program. Adelaide based TQCSI-Yaran, a majority Aboriginal-owned and operated joint venture, will audit and undertake quality, safety, health and environmental systems certification for the Hunter Class frigate program’s prototyping phase, which begins in December.
During prototyping, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be extensively tested and refined before construction starts on the first Hunter Class frigate in 2022. ASC Shipbuilding placed the contract with Indigenous Defence & Infrastructure Consortium (iDiC) and its consortium partner TQCSI-Yaran.
BAE Systems was the first Australian defence company to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan and has a Strategic Relationship Agreement with the iDiC which provides genuine opportunities for Indigenous suppliers to become part of BAE Systems’ supply chain.
ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director Craig Lockhart said “diversity in our supply chain is a critical part of developing Australian Industry Capability (AIC). Through Hunter, and the building of nine submarine hunting warships, ASC Shipbuilding is committed to creating and developing up to 20 new Indigenous businesses and increasing Indigenous employment opportunities over the life of the program. As we approach prototyping next month, we will place more contracts with Australian businesses, underpinning our commitment to maximise AIC and underpin a continuous naval shipbuilding capability for Australia well beyond the Hunter Class frigates.”
TQCSI-Yaran Principal, Craig Bates, said “IDiC and TQCSI-Yaran have worked together for three years providing auditing and certification of ISO management systems to companies and organisations wishing to grow their supply chain with Indigenous-owned companies. TQCSI-Yaran’s senior leaders have decades of naval experience and the company is looking forward to building on this contract and potentially building our participation in this world class program.”
iDiC Chief Executive Officer, Adam Goodes, said “we are delighted to be a strategic partner of ASC Shipbuilding on the Hunter Class frigate program. We’ve been working on the program since inception and I am delighted that the iDiC has been able to facilitate this partnership with TQCSI-Yaran.”
Minster for Defence Linda Reynolds said “prototyping is an essential phase in the building of any complex warship. This will ensure that ASC Shipbuilding’s workforce are thoroughly trained in using the state of the art digital equipment in one of the world’s most advanced shipyards at Osborne in Adelaide. This first phase is vital to the overall program, which will provide Navy with a regionally superior anti-submarine warfare capability it needs in the future. Today’s milestone demonstrates the steps being taken by this Government to maximise Australian Industry Content for the Hunter Class Frigate Program, while supporting Australian jobs. I am proud that BAE Systems Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan and strategic relationship with the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium is opening up new opportunities for Indigenous businesses to win work and be an important part of the Hunter Class program. Indigenous businesses who are contributing to Defence programs are not only a key part of the Australian economy, but are also providing jobs and supporting the community they represent.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Hunter Class Frigate Program was expected to create enormous opportunities for Australia’s defence industry. “More than 1,300 Australian companies are already pre-qualified for ASC Shipbuilding’s Hunter Class Frigate supply chain,” Price said. “The work that Adelaide-based TQCSI-Yaran will undertake is an important step for prototyping activities and provides practical training opportunities for Australian workers. I look forward to seeing more Indigenous businesses being contracted to support the government’s National Naval Shipbuilding Program.”