This morning I received a briefing from the Deputy Secretary of Capability Acquisition and Sustainment within the Department of Defence and the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, regarding the decision not to award the tender for the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program to the Cairns consortium led by TeeKay Shipping (Australia).
I expressed my anger and disappointment at the process of the announcement, as it was not acceptable, and this was acknowledged by Minister Payne.
I still have concerns with elements of the process but I have a better understanding from the information presented to me as to why the Cairns consortium’s bid may not have been considered as price-competitive.
I have undertaken not to share this information until the contract is finalised in several weeks’ time, after which I will certainly be making further comment.
I’ve also arranged for the Deputy Secretary to travel to Cairns with me and meet with the consortium members, to provide feedback on their bid and advice as to how it could have been strengthened ahead of their involvement in future defence tenders.
I continue to work with members of the consortium in putting together alternative opportunities for our region, in an effort to increase capacity in other areas within the marine services industry.
This is in line with the high level of support and expectation that our community had invested in the Cairns consortium being awarded the contract.