Maritime vessels will be able to operate more safely in Australian waters with the Morrison Government partnering with local industry to produce digital maps of Australia’s sea and coastal areas.
A panel of six Australian and one New Zealand hydrographic companies have been selected to collect environmental data to survey shipping routes, commercial ports and maritime approaches within the Australian Charting Area.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the $150 million partnership secures a sovereign capacity to produce hydrographic information over the next five years.
“It is vital to our national interest that the ADF can operate in Australian waters and that both commercial and naval vessels can safely navigate these waters,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Given Australia’s sea charting area covers 10-percent of the Earth’s surface, this commercial deal also frees up Defence’s specialist workforce and capabilities to focus on military geospatial requirements,” Minister Reynolds said.
Defence is also investigating options to replace Navy’s current military hydrographic survey capability.
“This is as part of the Morrison Government’s commitment to building a hydrographic vessel and two mine warfare support vessels at Henderson in Western Australia,” Minister Reynolds said.
The scoping study includes an option for a specialist vessel based on the Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessel.
“This program will ensure the naval shipbuilding workforce in Western Australia continues to grow over the long term, in addition to the 31 minor war vessels already being built.