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Labor moves Senate Inquiry into Naval Shipbuilding.

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Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Procurement and Personnel Senator for Western Australia


10 November 2005

Labor Moves Senate Inquiry into Naval Shipbuilding

Labor's interest in establishing a viable long term naval shipbuilding industry was supported today by a reference of the Senate to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee.

The Government's decision to build three air warfare destroyers in Adelaide, costing over $6 billion, and the pending proposal to purchase two large amphibious lift ships for the RAN, is fundamental to the growth of Australian heavy industry.

It's also critical for the development and maintenance of a sophisticated electronics industry, without which the capacity of Australia's defence industry would be hamstrung.

Future defence needs include a degree of self reliance when it comes to maintenance of our fleet in Australia.

Building ships locally or overseas are economic options to be analysed and rigorously tested.

In the long term, there is no question that in times of crisis, Australia needs a viable domestic capacity for maintenance - but it must be efficient and competitive.

These strategic needs need to be publicly examined.

Australia's ship building history has been patchy, though it's now world class in the building of smaller vessels for both defence and civilian purposes.

The extension of that success into larger vessels, with a focus on future defence needs demands immediate analysis.

It's vital that in the decision making process for the construction of future RAN ships that everyone is informed on the economic, social, and strategic implications .

In its inquiry the Committee will need to closely examine all aspects of Australia's shipbuilding industry, now and for the future.

This should include a full analysis of overseas benchmarks, and the implications for employment, training, and regional development.

All enquiries should be addressed to the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 3538.

Media Details: Senator Mark Bishop 0419 959 892 or Peter Reece 0414 677 441 Parliament House (02) 6277 3101