Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald has expressed disappointment at the decision of the Commonwealth Government to award the Pacific Patrol Boat tender to Western Australia.
Senator Macdonald said that the bid for a Cairns-based shipyard to construct the boats was an attractive proposition that would have done much for the development of the Cairns region in particular and Northern Australia across the board.
“I understand that the Government and the Defence Department have to select successful tenders on the basis of value for money and the necessity to get the right product at the end,” Senator Macdonald said.
“But I know the Cairns based bid would have re-established the ship building industry that the Labor Party destroyed a decade ago.
“Unemployment in the North is rising from the effects of the mining downturn, the State Labor Government’s stupidity in relation to mining and land clearing and of course QNI impacting on top of the Labor Government’s live cattle ban.
“The construction of the Pacific Patrols Boats would have been a wonderful employment generator and confidence boost for the North.
“I am very disappointed to hear the decision and I can feel for Member for Leichhardt Warren Enstch who has campaigned long and hard for the Cairns bid.
“The through-life support and sustainment package for the Pacific Patrol Boats of $400 million for Cairns is welcome and continues existing contracts – and is good news.
Cairns will also be home to some of the new Offshore Patrol Vessels. This will require the development of additional wharf space and other maintenance support facilities, requiring around $120million investment over the next decade, and a further $300million in the decade to 2035-2036.
“But the building contract would have been a real boost to the economy and confidence of the North,” Senator Macdonald said.