The Shoalhaven will benefit from a pipeline of Defence-related activity including up to 48 new jobs servicing the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of MH-60R maritime helicopters.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, Member for tSouth Coast, Shelley Hancock and Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward today visited defence industry sites and businesses in the region, including Sikorsky’s purpose-built helicopter facility in Nowra.
The Lockheed Martin Australia company has been awarded a $276 million five-year contract to maintain the Navy’s 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, based with the Fleet Air Arm at HMAS Albatross.
The contract includes, repairs, depot level maintenance and logistics support for the Navy’s next-generation helicopters, equipped for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, logistics, personnel transport and medical evacuation. It will also create opportunities to re-skill some workers from the civil aerospace sector affected by the COVID-19 downturn.
“It’s fantastic to see how important Defence projects can benefit local communities, providing employment, training and other opportunities while also playing a vital role in sustaining Australia’s Defence capability,” Mr Ayres said.
“NSW has a highly skilled labour market, a deep and complex industrial base, world class research institutions and a geographically significant position on the Australian east coast and is well positioned for future Defence investment,” Mr Ayres said.
The new employees will join 140 already working at the site, including three apprentices from the recent Shoalhaven STEMship Program – a NSW Government funded initiative designed to support defence industry workforce development.
Mr Ward said the region’s growing Defence capability was an asset for NSW and Australia.
“I’m proud of the great effort and commitment our local workforce has shown helping secure key defence contracts. They’re doing a great job providing security to their families and communities, and the nation as a whole,” Mr Ward said.
Mrs Hancock said the NSW Government was committed to ensuring the region continued to grow its defence industry.
“The NSW Government is working with Defence prime contractors, to grow key defence industry regions and precincts, create skilled jobs and generate economic growth as the State economy recovers from COVID-19,” Mrs Hancock said.
“Projects like the $276 million Sikorsky sustainment contract will create skilled employment opportunities in the Shoalhaven region for local people, together with an opportunity for local SMEs to enter the global supply chain.”
Mr Ayres Mr Ward and Mrs Hancock also visited nearby Mellori Solutions to open its new Electronic Warfare Testing and Evaluation Laboratory, and toured co-located Global Defence Solutions (GDS) headquarters to inspect its deployable force infrastructure platforms, due for export to the New Zealand Defence Force.