The Australian Government will invest up to $4.3 billion to deliver Western Australia’s first large-vessel dry berth, creating a world-class precinct at the Henderson shipyard and supporting thousands of local jobs. The Henderson dry-dock will enable the construction and sustainment of large naval vessels in Australia and support an even stronger commercial shipbuilding and sustainment market in Western Australia. Government-owned Australian Naval Infrastructure will oversee the design and build of this nation building infrastructure, with work to start in 2023 and initial operations to commence in 2028.
The upgrades involve the Garden Island defence precinct in Sydney, which comprises fleet headquarters for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Fleet Base East, and extensive sustainment resources. These include the 347-metre Captain Cook dry dock, the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere and the only facility in Australia able to accommodate the RAN’s largest ships. Once completed, this infrastructure will help support at least 2,000 direct shipbuilding jobs at Henderson, particularly as continuous naval shipbuilding in Western Australia comes to fruition as part of the national naval shipbuilding enterprise.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “That Western Australia was a central pillar to the Government’s commitment to growing sovereign capabilities and turbocharging our national naval shipbuilding. This is a $4.3 billion vote of confidence in Western Australia’s shipbuilding capabilities, jobs, training and the critical role that Western Australia plays in defending Australian and powering our national economy This multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment will transform the Henderson maritime precinct into a world-class shipbuilding powerhouse, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to naval capability in the West.”
The project builds on the Government’s previous $1.5 billion commitment to infrastructure improvements at HMAS Stirling and the Henderson maritime precinct. The Australian Government is committed to delivering the sovereign shipbuilding outcomes outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan and the 2017 National Naval Shipbuilding Plan, and Western Australia is central to them. The investment would generate economic and jobs growth in Western Australia, building sovereign defence industry in the region, with Australian industry requirements being built in from the beginning. The infrastructure will also support Defence’s $90 million Regional Maintenance Centre due to be operational in Henderson in the second half of 2022 to enable a level of maintenance to be conducted on all surface fleet units and creating 40 jobs.