MP calls for local build

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 19-Feb-2016


BENDIGO MP Lisa Chesters wants Australia’s new submarines to be built in Australia with a knock-on effect of providing jobs for 


Last week the Weekly reported that Bendigo business Keech Australia has been invited by German submarine manufacturer ThyssenKrupp to join their bid to supply the Australian Navy’s new

“It’s exciting to learn that Bendigo could be in line for a jobs boost if a local manufacturer scores a components contract for Australia’s new submarines,” Ms Chesters said.

“The importance of Australian-built defence manufacturing contract to Bendigo cannot be understated. This contract will secure many small to medium supply chain businesses and jobs.”

 Supply of the submarines is open to a federal government evaluation process, and Keech is one of a select number of businesses which met with the German submarine manufacturer ThyssenKrupp which is a bidder to supply the new submarines.

But it’s not all plain sailing with the process far from decided.

“The three bidders have been asked to provide various options to the government for consideration  – 100 per cent overseas built; a mix of local and overseas built; and 100 per cent Australian built through the government’s Competitive Evaluation Process,” Ms Chesters said.

“My fear is that this contract could go to a cheaper bidder if the government opts for the 100 per cent built overseas option.  This would result in local Australian job loses as well as Australian based companies like Keech Australia missing out on vital supply chain contracts.”

Keech 3D’s chief executive Herbert Hermens said should TKMSA be successful, Keech 3D looks forward to being a supplier to the program.

“Our objective and focus is to partner with TKMSA to supply the world-class additive, and other engineering, these new Australian-built submarines will require,”
he said. 

TKMSA chairman John White said the company was keen to meet with the Keech 3D team given their capability and track-record in digital manufacturing technology.

“Keech 3D’s track-record working in defence and these other sectors in Australia in recent years provides a great template for how we will actively partner with local manufacturers and service suppliers should our submarine bid be successful,” he said.

Ms Chesters said the new minister for defence materiel, Dan Tehan, has the opportunity to secure existing jobs and create new jobs in Australia’s defence manufacturing industry.

“What we don’t want to see is more manufacturing jobs go overseas,” she said.

“Maintaining a strong industrial base, including for skilled workers here in Bendigo, has important strategic implications for Australia, therefore, we must not allow this industry to die.

“Defence manufacturing in Bendigo certainly has a proud history and if given the support of our own government, it will have a promising and successful future,” she said.


Captcha Image