TWO LEADERS in the Clarence Valley's marine industry believe a Federal Government commitment to build Australian offers expansion opportunities to their businesses.
The managing directors of Yamba Welding and Engineering and Harwood Marine, Bill Collingburn and Ross Roberts, both attended this week's Pacific 17 International Maritime Expo in Sydney, showcasing what their businesses had to offer a government now committed to naval shipbuilding.
The pair heard the Federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, speak on the importance of Australian involvement in naval work.
"The 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement directed, for the first time, that the Australian defence industry was to be a fundamental input to capability,” Mr Pyne said.
"Australian industry is being considered throughout the capability life-cycle, from the early development work in force design, through acquisition to sustainment.”
Both managing directors said their companies had already fulfilled government contracts.
"We already have a $5 million contract with Australian Border Force to build patrol boats,” Mr Collingburn said.
"This type of work enables expansion. If we can get more of this work we could double our workforce.”
He said he was also in the early stage of fulfilling a contract to build vessels for the navy.
Mr Roberts said Harwood Marine was more interested in repair and maintenance of vessels.
"We're not looking at the biggest naval vessels, but there are plenty the size of the Norfolk Trader, which we were able to work with,” he said.
"Sustainment is actually where the money is in this area.
"If you look at the map we have port facilities on the middle of the east coast of Australia, which is where you would expect the navy to be concentrating its effort.”
Member for Page Kevin Hogan said Harwood Marine could expect to receive a package in the next few days outlining how the government initiative worked.
"We want the marine precinct in the Clarence to grow.
"I know both companies and they are good operators.”