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Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council Comment: Industry concern with Future Frigate tendering

The Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) has noted press reports, parliamentary debate and considerable industry concern about the Request for Tender (RFT) relating to the Future Frigates Program.

The AAMC has previously applauded the Australian Government's commitment to defence industries – its recognition of the quality of what we have, the centrality of the Defence industry programme to advanced manufacturing and the determination to leverage the development of domestic industry capability from the substantial forward commitment to defence capability enhancement.

The AAMC understands the contracting principles behind the reported provisions in the RFT documentation for the Future Frigates project that require the successful tenderer to "directly manage and supervise the workforce undertaking the shipbuilding work". However, it would be prudent to clarify how the RFT is consistent with the ambition embodied in the Government's previous statements and policy on local industrial capability development.

There are numbers of Australian shipbuilders and suppliers who are highly qualified to execute all or substantial parts of the Future Frigate project – including in relation to design and fabrication of structures, systems and fitout. These companies currently participate in naval vessel projects and other major projects and are recognised globally.

AAMC would want to avoid any conflict between the contract terms and the Government's policy from the Defence White Paper seeking to establish sovereign ship building capability for Australia.

These are important national projects and we want to ensure that all Australian advanced manufacturers have the opportunity to participate and build globally competitive capability in technologies relevant to defence and many other sectors.

Further Information: John Pollaers 0457 526 330