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Tuesday, 15 March 1994
Page: 1648

(Question No. 1046)

Senator Calvert asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 14 February 1994:

  (1) What was the price paid by the Government for the USS Goldsborough.

  (2) For what purpose was the vessel purchased.

  (3) Where is the vessel currently berthed.

  (4) Does the Government consider that the price paid for the USS Goldsborough was a fair representation of current market values for such vessels.

  (5) Is it the Government's intention that the vessel will be scrapped and the parts used for replacement purposes; if so, how does the Government justify such a proposal on economic grounds.

  (6) When did the USS Goldsborough arrive in Australia.

  (7) When is it envisaged that the Government's plans for the future of the USS Goldsborough will be implemented.

Senator Robert Ray —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) The exact purchase price, as detailed in United States of America Letter of Offer and Acceptance AT-P-SCC Ser 04A/3U003943, was US$2,337,462.

  (2) Goldsborough was purchased as part of a program for the repatriation of US-based maintainer training. A number of radar and weapons systems will be removed from the ship and relocated to a training site at Garden Island for training of system maintenance personnel, saving substantial annual costs in travel to and training in the USA.

  (3) Goldsborough is currently berthed at the Fleet Base—East in Port Jackson.

  (4) The Goldsborough acquisition represents a significant bargain. The individual purchase prices of the systems to be removed for training alone sum to more than the overall purchase price.

  (5) The ultimate fate of the vessel is subject to US Government approval and is currently being progressed. Parts of equipment other than those designated for training will be used to provide significant additional costs benefits as a source of replacement spares for RAN ships.

  (6) The vessel entered Australian waters, under tow, on 31 Jan 1994. She then entered Port Jackson and berthed at Fleet Base—East on the morning of 2 February 1994.

  (7) Planning and implementation of the Goldsborough acquisition has been an ongoing process since early 1993. Removal of ship fitted equipment commenced upon arrival in Sydney and it is envisaged that the planned maintainer training facility will be operational by late 1994.