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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3119

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 1 1 October 1977:

(1)   Was the estimated cost of 2 guided missile frigates with spares support $330m as at January 1 976.

(2)   Did this price escalate to $4 14m at January 1977 prices.

(3)   If so, how much of this increase can be attributed to (a) devaluation in exchange fluctuations and (b) other reasons.

Mr Killen (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Defence) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   a. (i) devaluation and exchange rate changes amount to $45. 1 m; (ii) prices escalated by $26m.

b.   other reasons $ 1 3m.

Army and Navy Work-boats (Question No. 1734)

Dr Richardson (TANGNEY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 October 1977:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a report in the West Australian of S October 1977, in which Government spokesmen are reported as stating that a bid from a Western Aus.tralian firm for the contract for the 22 new work-boats to be built in Australia for the Army and Navy had been refused because the Navy considered that single screw boats could be dangerous in some situations, and that the Navy preferred aluminium hulls to fibreglass; if so, does the statement represent defence requirements.

(2)   If the statement represents defence requirements why did the tender documents state that boats could be manufactured from aluminium, GRP (fibreglass), wood; steel, or any other approved material, and why was the tender not restricted to twin screw vessels.

(3   ) Has the Navy let contracts for any vessels to be made of fibreglass in the past; if so, of what size.

(4)   Does each of the vessels to be manufactured by North Queensland Engineers and Agents Pty Ltd meet the tender requirements in that it is (a) a tried and proven vessel unaltered in any way or (b) a commercial boat containing minor modifications only to meet Naval requirements; if so, which category applies, and where may this vessel be inspected.

Mr Killen - The answer to the honourable member 's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   By allowing aU designs and material types, the widest possible response from tenderers was available and did not exclude the opportunity for the Commonwealth to benefit from technological development.

Navy's past experience with small craft indicates aluminium hulls are preferable to conventional fibreglass hulls for the duties planned for the 12 metre craft. However, none of the fibreglass designs offered had qualities which met the Navy requirement for hull construction necessary for the arduous duties planned for these craft

Thirteen of the craft will be employed in support of diving operations. For this role the increased manoeuvrability and reliability provided by twin screw craft was considered highly desirable as it gives an improved degree of safety.

The Navy design included this feature and tenderers of commercial boats were advised they would be in competition with tenders for the Navy design.

(3)   Yes. Sizes range from 26 to 33 feet in length and were built in Victoria and Western Australia. They are not used as work boats.

(4)   The tender of North Queensland Engineers and Agents Pry Ltd meets the tender requirements for the Navy designed boat.

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