Australia’s national shipbuilding program achieved a major milestone today of ‘cutting steel’ for the first replacement Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) in Western Australia.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, attended the historic ceremony at HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services in Bibra Lake to celebrate the momentous moment.

“Today marks the start of the Turnbull Government’s $89 billion shipbuilding program and WA has a vital role in this great national endeavour,” Minister Pyne said.

“HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services has been contracted by Austal for the supply, transport, storage and cutting of Australian manufactured steel plate.”

“This is a fantastic example of what we are trying to achieve and highlights the benefits of building ships in Australia because the supply chain wins work and jobs are created.”

“Austal says around 325 companies are in the PPB supply chain nationwide.”

“Austal expects the $306 million project will create up to 207 direct jobs and employ around 300 more in the supply chain.”

“Last month I opened the shipbuilding facility in Naval Base, south of Perth, which will be used by Austal to build 19 PPBs.”

Once constructed and tested the vessels will be handed to the Australian Government and subsequently given to 12 Pacific Island countries as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.

The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in late 2018.

“In an exciting development, Austal has advised it’s currently working on an export opportunity in Asia for the PPB.”

“This demonstrates the power of a continuous shipbuilding program to enable innovation and exports.”

Minister Pyne also visited Civmec in Henderson, which has started construction on a massive new $80 million shipbuilding and maintenance facility.

“Civmec says the main building footprint will be larger than the MCG and taller than the Sydney Opera House.”

“This will transform the waterfront, create jobs and help bring investment to Henderson,” said Minister Pyne.

“Civmec believes the construction will create approximately 150 new jobs, which is a great sign of the confidence business has in our defence industry.”

“The company says once completed the facility will house up to 1000 workers with 100 apprentices.”

“The Turnbull Government is committed to driving our Defence dollar further to deliver the best capability we can to our military and benefit innovative local companies.”

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