MR ENTSCH: Everybody loves a first, and that’s why it was great to recently announce, alongside defence minister, Peter Dutton, that Cairns would be the home for the first Defence regional maintenance centre.
This is something I’ve been working towards now for quite a few years, and I’m proud to have delivered it for my community.
The five-year, $70 million contract was awarded to local consortium NORSTA Maritime, a joint venture between two local shipyards, the Tropical Reef Shipyard and Norship Marine.
The investment will ensure that Cairns can further build on its reputation as a leading marine maintenance and sustainability hub in northern Australia and in the Pacific.
Creating a consistent pipeline of naval sustainment work at the Cairns Marine Precinct will also provide long-term opportunities for local industry, ensuring that businesses have the confidence to invest and develop their facilities and workplaces.
But, more importantly, as more naval ships are maintained in Cairns, more defence industry personnel will be required, which will be further support for the long-term local jobs to diversify our economy.
It will also give confidence to local youngsters seeking training and a career in maritime technical trades to remain here in Cairns.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge Norship Marine’s CEO, Olav Groot, and Tropical Reef Shipyard’s director, Robert Downing, whose work behind the scenes was absolutely critical in securing Defence’s first regional maintenance centre.