Pacific patrol boat setback represents massive loss for Cairns economy

Tuesday 19 April, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: patrol boats, Austal, maritime industry;

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is disappointed by the decision to award the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program (PPBR) to Western Australia.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the Cairns-based solution for the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement represented a considerable opportunity for the FNQ economy.

“The PPBR would have delivered community prosperity to Far North Queensland by providing a livelihood directly to 150 Queenslanders and another 1000 indirectly,” he said.

“This $2 billion project would have offered substantial economic benefit that would inevitably have spilled over to much of the FNQ business community.

“PPBR was worth about $594 million in construction. The additional support, maintenance and personnel over 30 years was worth another $1.38 billion.”

Mr Behrens said the program of work would have reignited the Port of Cairns and the region’s marine industry.

“Cairns has a strong and world-class maritime industry making a major contribution to the region’s economy,” he said.

“CCIQ strongly supported this project and is deeply troubled by the decision.

“The PPBR project involves the construction of up to 21 steel-hulled patrol vessels and through life sustainment over 30 years.

“Austal Ltd’s share of the PPBR program will include the construction of the vessels and short-to-medium term maintenance components of the project.

“The is some minor comfort – Austal plans to construct the Pacific Patrol Boats in its shipyard in Henderson, WA, with on-going maintenance to be performed at Austal’s existing facility in Cairns.

“The vessels will replace the existing Pacific Patrol Boat fleet, which is approaching the end of its service life, and will assist Pacific Island countries to continue to take an active part in securing their own extensive Exclusive Economic Zones.

“Queensland has been snubbed by this decision and unless the Federal Government wishes to draw the ire of the Sunshine State at the polls on July 2 it had better reach deep into its pork-barrelling pocket to fund a range of essential infrastructure projects for the state.”

 

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