WA, SA may jointly bid for naval contracts


Western Australia may jointly bid with South Australia for naval shipbuilding contracts instead of competing with each other in years to come, WA deputy premier Liza Harvey says.

Speaking on the sidelines of an industry briefing on how to pitch for a slice of the nation's $89 billion future defence shipbuilding program, Ms Harvey told reporters the states could co-operate in bidding for contracts.

South Australia was the big winner in April when it was announced that the bulk of the work for a $50 billion contract to design and build 12 submarines would be completed there, disappointing WA Premier Colin Barnett.

SA was also awarded a contract to build 12 offshore patrol boats for the navy from 2018, replacing the smaller, WA-built Armidale-class vessels.

The patrol boat building program will be transferred to WA when Adelaide begins work on the navy's Future Frigates in 2020.

"We don't see this as an 'us and them' situation," Ms Harvey said on Wednesday.

"There is an opportunity for the two states to work together. It may be that Western Australia and South Australia have a combined bid."

While the recent wins represent 520 jobs in WA, the state government expects thousands more will be created with future maintenance work.

"Servicing for submarines and frigates and the other vessels is where the long-term jobs, the long-term commitment and a stable industry base comes from," Ms Harvey said.