The Henderson shipyard was a hive of activity today as Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price viewed first-hand the strong progress of the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) construction, a critical project delivering hundreds of jobs in Western Australia.
Accompanied by representatives from shipbuilding companies Luerssen and Civmec, Minister Price’s visit gave her the opportunity to see the world-class work being carried out on the OPV program.
The project is a key part of the Morrison Government’s $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, an unprecedented investment in new infrastructure and shipbuilding activities which is creating thousands of jobs across the country.
The first two OPV vessels are in an advanced build state at Osborne in South Australia.
The third vessel is well progressed at Henderson, while the fourth marked a significant milestone earlier this month with the start of construction and welding of its steel.
Another eight vessels will be built at Henderson, where direct workforce jobs will peak at 400 and another 600 indirect jobs are expected to be created across the life of the program.
The ships will be used as part of Australia’s border patrol operations.
Minister Price said both WA and South Australia were playing key roles in the development of a national naval shipbuilding enterprise.
“Made with Australian steel – all cut locally in Western Australia – the OPVs will offer greater endurance to undertake maritime patrol and response duties,” Minister Price said.
“Today’s visit to the maritime precinct highlights how the Morrison Government is forging ahead with its landmark naval shipbuilding programs.
“We are not only delivering the important capabilities needed for the Australian Defence Force, but providing a significant, positive impact to the economy and delivering jobs as we bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The first of the OPVs, Arafura, is planned to enter service from the early 2020s and will conduct border protection and maritime patrol missions over greater distances than is currently possible with the existing patrol boat fleet.
Luerssen is an independent and family-owned shipbuilding company with more than 140 years of experience in building high-quality surface naval vessels.
Civmec is a multi-disciplinary construction and heavy engineering services provider to the resources, infrastructure and defence sectors.