The north’s ongoing bid for the $2billion Pacific patrol boat contract has been highlighted during a Senate Estimates hearing today.
Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald, who has been a vocal supporter of the bid from the Cairns consortium, asked for an update on the tender process, which is expected to be announced in coming months.
“I am keen to take every opportunity I can to spruik about the Cairns bid, as the lucrative contract would mean a massive boost to the local economy,” Senator Macdonald said.
During an Estimates hearing, he sought an assurance from the Defence Department’s General Manager Ships, Alan Nicholl, that the department wasn’t just sitting in Canberra assessing the bid based on their written submissions, but would be looking closely at what individual bidders and the communities supporting those teams were offering.
“Cairns is ideally placed to perform the work, not only from a geographic location, given its close proximity to the Pacific Islands, but also in terms of its capacity, and the experience of those groups involved in the bid,” Senator Macdonald said.
“Further, our defence capabilities in the North are second to none – we have a very established Defence base that extends from Townsville in the south, and it makes sense to position such a significant project in the heart of the country’s northern defence zone.”
“Securing this contract is vital if the local ship building industry is to survive, as well as boosting local jobs and the economy, and I will be closely watching over the coming months to ensure we have taken every opportunity we can to secure it.”