The McGowan Government is pressing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new WA-based Defence Minister Linda Reynolds to shower the State with billions of dollars in military contracts, arguing South Australia had more than its fill under former defence minister Christopher Pyne.
The push comes as the State Government appoints a former Pyne staffer to run its bid for naval contracts as WA looks to a possible navy ship and submarine construction boom to bring hundreds of new jobs to the State.
WA Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the appointment of Senator Reynolds and fellow West Australian Melissa Price, who takes on the role of Defence Industry Minister in the Morrison Government.
Mr Papalia reminded the new ministers that Mr Pyne had heavily favoured his home State with the awarding of billions of dollars in submarine and ship contracts.
“South Australia was well served by Christopher Pyne,” Mr Papalia said. “He has set the bar high for Senator Reynolds and Melissa Price and the WA defence sector will be watching to see what is delivered.
“With two WA ministers appointed in the key defence portfolios, we are in an ideal position to secure more work and continue to build the industry’s capability and capacity.”
The State Government has appointed Matt Moran, a former senior staff member to Mr Pyne, as new executive director of Defence West, the Government’s body charged with attracting defence work to WA.
Mr Moran said he was looking forward to working with the local defence industry to make the most of any opportunities.
During the Federal election campaign, Mr Morrison said two navy minesweepers and a hydrographic vessel would be built at shipyards in Henderson, south of Perth. The Coalition has claimed the move would secure more than 1000 local jobs.
The Federal Government has also committed to building up to 10 corvettes at Henderson, with German shipbuilder Lurssen hoping to turn the centre into an export hub for the region.
But the real fight will come as the Government moves closer to building the first of its $40 billion future fleet of submarines, with all States to vie for the lucrative sustainment contracts for the boats.