Newcastle could benefit from submarine and future frigate contracts despite "Adelaide" build

ADELAIDE might be home port for the $50-billion submarine build, but there will be work for other shipbuilding ports, including Newcastle.

INDUSTRIAL REVIVAL: A Collins class sub at ASC Adelaide on Tuesday. The Collins fleet will be replaced with a French design to be built in Australia. Picture: David Mariuz

INDUSTRIAL REVIVAL: A Collins class sub at ASC Adelaide on Tuesday. The Collins fleet will be replaced with a French design to be built in Australia. Picture: David Mariuz

That’s the view of defence and industrial sources who spoke with the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday, and it’s borne out by the city’s record in building the Huon class minehunters, as well as hull modules for destroyers built in Adelaide and frigates built in Melbourne.

Western Australian company Civmec, which has expanded its east coast operations by buying the Tomago shipyard from the Forgacs family, is determined to see Newcastle regain its place as a major ship construction and repair facility.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday that the French government defence contractor, DCNS, would build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia in Adelaide, with the job expected to take until the mid 2040s.

Civmec’s general manager of defence, Mike Deeks, said the company was pleased with the decision.

“Other contracts based in South Australia have historically had work done interstate, including by Forgacs in Newcastle,” Mr Deeks said.

“Civmec's purchase of Forgacs means we have construction capacity on both the eastern and western coasts of Australia to take part in both the submarine contract, as well as two other big naval contracts, the offshore patrol boats starting in 2018 and the future frigates starting in 2020.”

Tony Cade, chief executive of industrial co-operative HunterNet, said there were work prospects in both the subs and future frigates.

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