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Monday, 31 March 1980
Page: 1190

Senator HAMER (VICTORIA) - My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. I refer to a remark made by the Minister for Defence in a recent statement to Parliament in which he spoke of his Department's having learnt a number of lessons from the Fremantle patrol boat project. The Minister will remember that the first of these vessels, which were designed and built in England, was 20 tons overweight and even with remedial action will not meet specifications for speed or range. Can the Minister inform the Senate in broad terms of what lessons the Department of Defence has learnt from this project?

Senator DURACK (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Attorney-General) - The patrol craft project to which Senator Hamer refers involves separate contracts being awarded for the supply of a lead craft and follow-on craft. This has not been done previously. In entering into such arrangements, the timing for the delivery of the equipment should be sufficient to ensure that any difficulties identified in a lead craft are not repeated in later craft. Greater control and visibility of any arrangements between the lead and follow-on craft contractors will be sought by the Commonwealth, particularly relating to design.

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