Industry calls for Offshore Patrol Vessels to bridge Valley of Death

On the eve of Australia Day the nation’s defence industry calls on the Federal Government to
expedite decisions on future Naval shipbuilding projects, in particular the Offshore Patrol Vessel
(OPV) project, in order to mitigate the loss of the industry’s highly skilled workforce and bridge the
‘Valley of Death’.

Australian Made Defence campaign national spokesperson, Chris Burns said the OPVs are key to
allowing industry to deliver future Defence projects.

“In recent times, our industry has been descending into the Valley of Death created by the stopstart
nature of Defence projects and the lack of a national ongoing shipbuilding strategy or plan,”
said Mr Burns.

“This problem has caused many local businesses to shut up shop and thousands of workers
across Australia to lose their jobs.

“According to the Government-initiated independent RAND report on Australian shipbuilding
released last year, the OPVs are the most important way to securing a local build for Australia’s
future frigates and submarines by bridging the gap between projects.

“This expert report clearly stated the best way to bridge the Valley of Death in the defence industry
and avoid the productivity pitfalls and problems of previous projects is to bring forward both the
OPV and Future Frigate programs and, vitally, to build them in the same yard.”
The Government has committed to basing the consolidation of Australia’s future frigates in South
Australia commencing in 2020.

“The Federal Government needs to make a similar commitment to a local build of Australia’s OPVs
starting in 2018 so industry can have certainty of continuance while the design process is
underway for our frigates, and hopefully, our submarines,” said Mr Burns.

“Without this commitment, industry will lose the workforce it has left, putting future projects at risk.
“If the existing knowledge and skills in the workforce are lost, it is Australian taxpayers who will
have to pay to rebuild them.

“Our Federal Government needs to stop considering Australia’s defence projects in isolation, and
consider all our future needs as part of a national shipbuilding plan. This plan should incorporate a
continuous build philosophy delivering the best outcomes for our Defence Force and our nation.
“We call on the Federal Government to act now to prevent further loss of jobs and skills into the
future,” said Mr Burns.

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