The Australian government is supporting almost 1,000 defence industry jobs and strengthening national security, with a new $2 billion contract to maintain and sustain Australia’s naval fleet in Sydney. Thales Australia has been appointed as the Regional Maintenance Provider for the new Regional Maintenance Centre East at Defence’s Garden Island Precinct.
This will create up to 120 direct defence industry jobs and around 800 jobs in the broader industrial ship repair workforce. It will ensure Australia has the sovereign industrial base to maintain and sustain Australia’s naval fleet into the future. The seven-year contract includes incentives to ensure local and regional small and medium businesses are given a fair opportunity to compete for work.
The new maintenance centre will support the sustainment of Navy’s Canberra class Landing Helicopter Docks, Hobart class Guided Missile Destroyers and HMAS Choules Landing Ship Dock. It is a part of a new national approach to sustainment, establishing a consolidated network of maintenance centres around Australia, to support continuous naval shipbuilding and respond to a more challenging strategic environment. Defence’s partnership with Thales Australia at Garden Island demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to partnering with industry as recommended by the Defence Strategic Review.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “I am pleased to be at Garden Island to announce this new $2 billion partnership with Thales Australia, which will create almost a thousand secure, high skilled, local jobs in defence industry. Growing our sovereign naval shipbuilding industrial capability is not just good for jobs, it’s imperative for our national security. I’m focussed on making it easier for local industry to partner with Defence, and this partnership with Thales Australia will help to do that.”
Jeff Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, Thales Australia & New Zealand said, “We are grateful to be selected as the Australian Defence Force’s regional maintenance partner of choice, providing indispensable services and support to the Royal Australian Navy in the protection of our nation at Garden Island in Sydney. The Captain Cook Graving Dock and Garden Island Precinct on Sydney Harbour have always been critical sovereign national security assets – as is the highly skilled Thales Australia workforce that safely operate the dock every day to ensure the RAN is always ready and available to protect the nation and support our Pacific Island neighbours as needed. Thales Australia is committed to ensuring the continued training and upskilling of our people to advance dockyard operations as the new vessels come online, as well as engaging and training the new apprentices, trainees and cadets of the future to guarantee knowledge transfer to future-proof this essential sovereign sustainment capability for the ADF.”
Earlier this year, Thales signed an agreement with U.S Navy Industrial Enterprise partner, ORBIS Sibro Inc (ORBIS Inc), to collaborate on the advancement of maritime sustainment operations in support of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) at the Garden Island Defence Precinct in Sydney. The new partnership will help accelerate the advancement of Australia’s maritime sustainment capability in support of the Australian Government’s National Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Enterprise.