Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, welcomed a new initiative to increase opportunities for local industry to participate in major Defence infrastructure projects as part of a pilot program announced by Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, today.
The Local Industry Capability Plan pilot will ensure that local industry has the best possible opportunity to be involved in the Coalition Government’s unprecedented $200 billion investment in Defence capability over the next decade.
Senator Scullion said the pilot would give Northern Territory businesses a greater chance to be involved in major defence infrastructure programs.
“The Northern Territory is home to many skilled businesses in the construction industry. This initiative will ensure they are fully considered for the projects which help create local jobs and investment.”
The pilot project will require tenderers bidding for major capital facilities projects to state clearly how they have engaged with local industry in providing their tendered solution, and how local industry will specifically be involved in delivering the work packages that underpin the project.
“I have recognised both the contribution local companies make to our defence capability and that we can, and should, do more to maximise those opportunities,” Minister Payne said.
The framework will be piloted by three projects that will go to market in the next few months:
- The Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program, an around $230 million project covering 12 Defence sites, including Explosive Ordnance Depot Darwin.
- The Shoalwater Bay Training Area Redevelopment, an around $135 million substantial infrastructure upgrade project; and
- The Townsville Field Training Area Mid-Term Refresh, an around $24 million project to ensure the Training Area is fit for purpose, safe and environmentally compliant.
“This is fundamentally about ensuring that local companies in the vicinity of our Defence bases, facilities and training areas are properly considered and provided the opportunity to compete and win work,” Minister Payne said.
The pilot projects will inform the development of a Defence Industry Participation Policy the Minister for Defence will release in the first half of 2018. The Policy will provide a more consistent approach to maximising Australian and local industry involvement in Defence procurement of $4 million and above, recognising that Defence procures a range of different equipment, services, and support across many sectors of the Australian economy.
“I will consider further major capital facilities pilot projects while the Policy is being developed,” Minister Payne said.
Another initiative the Government will be undertaking to maximise local industry involvement is to change the way that Managing Contractors sub-contract.
“At present, the typical arrangements are for sub-contracts to be based on ‘trade packages’. Defence has considered feedback from Northern Territory enterprises and will instead trial the use of smaller ‘work packages’ for the upcoming Larrakeyah Redevelopment and Naval Operations in the North projects,” Minister Payne said.
Under this approach, buildings or work elements may be tendered separately, rather than by individual trade. It is expected that this initiative will provide greater opportunity to local industry.